Choctaw Princess or Lady...which is she?
Upon reaching womanhood the Choctaw princess Winona receives a vision that will fulfill an ancient legend. But she will undergo challenges and heartache before she finds the answer, and a love so deep and true it will make her whole.
Golden Hawk or Viking Lord...which is he?
While exploring a new land Lord Rurac Dragson becomes the reluctant guardian of several heathen maidens. Protective of all, but drawn to one, he finds that his honor, his name, and his wealth mean nothing without love.
Together they travel the age-old path of love until the Viking Lord finds his Savage Lady.
Late summer, 1030 A.D.
Winona parted the high grass near the water’s edge for a better view of the strange creature before her. It was so big, and so ferocious looking; she could not look away. She remembered as a child hearing her father and uncle speak many times of the mighty guardian of the sea, Uktena. But seeing it was more intimidating, more terrifying, than she had imagined and she trembled in fear. She wanted to run; yet, seem rooted to her hiding place in fascination.
The huge head, fire red in color was taller than the trees, and the dark skin was sleek and scaly. One large black eye looked out across the water and its numerous legs glided through the choppy waves, effortlessly. The long curved tail moved slightly, and the creature turned toward land. Now both black eyes focused on her position and her frozen limbs suddenly came to life.
Like a startled deer, she took flight; darting through the tall grass, she ran faster. The urge to look back was strong, but she must not. Inbred instinct drove everything from her mind and she directed all her energies into putting distance between herself and the approaching beast.
She had to throw the creature off her scent; confuse it in some way. A wild animal hunted by instinct and a keen sense of smell, whereas the human animal had a mind. They could reason and think; therefore they were the superiors of the two. This knowledge was not inherent to Winona; it had been drilled into her from her very first steps. Survival was the driving force, the key element, and the main function of every living being. And for no other reason than that, Winona intended to survive.
At the edge of the forest she left the path, darting between trees and again changed directions. Up ahead she saw a tangled mass of trees, and knowing she would find refuge within the dark web of twisted roots and branches, she made for it. Slipping through a small opening, she fell to her knees, gasping for breath. She was safe for the moment.
Sighing in relief she moved deeper into the hollow of a tree trunk and tried to bring her ragged breathing under control. The sheer size of Uktena would make a noiseless approach impossible, but her sense of diligence stayed sharp. She was aware of every sound around her; even the steady beat of her own heart.
Moving silently back to the opening, she peered out. She saw nothing. Everything was as it should be. Sitting back on her haunches, she scanned the area, pondering her plight. What should she do? Was the creature out there waiting for her? Should she stay hidden and wait? Or should she venture forth?
Again instinct gave her the answer. Settling into a comfortable position near the opening, she murmured a silent prayer to Shilup, the Great Spirit, for her deliverance. She had fooled the beast and was out of danger for the moment. Still she was not deceived by the peacefulness of her surroundings. She knew the forest too well, and although it had the look of quiet serenity there was always danger nearby.
"Foolish thoughts," she whispered, caustically.
As the daughter of a Choctaw chief, she knew what to expect and what was expected of her. Had she not waited with eagerness for this special time in her life? She had listened carefully for 14 winters to every instruction, committed every responsibility, every privilege, and every duty to memory. She would return to her village women deemed ready to become a wife…if she returned.
"Sge! Yu!" she admonished, in disgust. "Such thoughts are shameful."
Instead of bemoaning her plight she should be rejoicing. She had waited too long for this day, prepared for it. She was her father’s daughter and she would succeed. She had to, for his sake. And what of Red Feather? Was he not as impatient as she for her return…if she returned?
Yet now that it was upon her she sat cringing in fear like a child. Where was her courage? Her strength? Where was the ability, the skill, and the source of power she was told she would be hers? Was she not a woman now? Was she lacking in some way? Was she less than those who had gone before her?
"Haya!" he declared, emphatically.
No. She lacked nothing. What was wrong with her? Of course she would return. After all, her future, her life with Red Feather and all her tomorrows…their tomorrows, depended on her return. By the time the cold breath of winter blew across Mother Earth she and Red Feather would be joined. She would share his life cycle, be his helpmate, his woman, his wife.
"Wife of Red Feather," she whispered, dreamily. A blissful smile flickered across her face as his handsome image came to mind. His long, thick, black hair, his smoldering gaze, and his strong, virile body. "His winyan…mother of his children." The lone howl of a wolf cut into her musings followed by the shrill scream of a hawk. "Aniwaga," she breathed, becoming instantly alert.
When the howl of the wolf came again to be followed by the hawk’s screech, Winona tensed. Once more the wolf, sacred symbol of her clan, howled and was followed by the call of the hawk. Panic and terror swept over her. Why was Grandfather speaking to her…a mere female? How could she be given a vision? What did it mean?
Alarmed and confused, Winona crawled from her hiding place within the tree trunk. Uktena was forgotten, as was Red Feather and everything else. Her only thought was to reach her village and find the Ancient One, the oldest living member of her tribe. He was shaman and seer with special powers. He would have the knowledge to interpret this strange occurrence.
Who was she that Grandfather spoke to her? Why had she been chosen to receive this sign? Was the sign meant as a blessing or a curse? Now more than ever before Winona was afraid. She broke into a run. She must find the Ancient One. She had only 15 winters on Mother Earth…such a short span and life was so precious. Her life cycle was just beginning; she had so much to live for…so much.
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