Where could he be? Makawee paced as she thought. It won’t be safe to stay in this cabin much longer. She needed her husband. She needed her family. She was so very tired of the life she and William had chosen for themselves. They were being hunted like animals. Even after all these years of subterfuge; after all they had tried to do, the US Government wanted them to pay for undermining the goals of the greedy gold chasers. They had destroyed what had once been sacred to her people. The land was still there and it was still beautiful, but it was in the hands of those who sought to get rich, not those who respected what the Great Spirit had given them. Their tribes had hunted Buffalo and lived good lives. Now they were living in poverty and families had been torn apart. They no longer had respect for each other or themselves. Their culture, their way of life, was disappearing and there seemed to be nothing they could do about it.
Soo’-TAH’s eyes scanned the whole area from his position on the bluff where he had spent the night watching and listening. He sensed danger was coming. He just didn’t know when. He would protect his Mistress until his Master arrived.
What Soo’-TAH didn’t know was that Mahkah and Dakota had found the horses and were on their way to the cabin as well. Dakota had never ridden a horse, but she was a natural and rode almost as well as her brother.
Makawee watched the sun set on another day. A day that brought her closer to being found, but she fought her instincts. She knew she should wait no longer for William. What could have happened to delay him? She would wait one more day, then leave when the sun set again. It was better to travel under the darkness of the night. She knew her way around the rugged terrain that surrounded Sylvan Lake. Her (would be) captors couldn’t possibly keep up with her journey.
She would go to the farmhouse. She was sure the soldiers that were hunting her down, had already been there and found nothing that would cause them to return. Hopefully, William would think as she did, and he would find her there.
Soo’-TAH was hungry, but he knew he dared not allow anything to distract him from his vigil.
It wasn’t long before he was proven right. Two men on foot were approaching the cabin. His Mistress had been clever enough not to start a fire in the stone fireplace, so there was no smoke coming from the chimney, and there were no lamps or candles burning. The only brightness was the moon in the sky.
Soo’-TAH waited. It was not yet time to show himself.
Inside the cabin, Makawee slept. She was hidden in a dug out area beneath the wooden floor. Even in her sleep, she felt something was different and became fully awake with all of her senses in tune. She heard the creak of the cabin door. Was it William? She dared not make a sound. She heard the footsteps of two people, but neither spoke.
Soo’-TAH watched and waited. He had been trained well. The most important skill he had learned was to be patient. If he ran toward the men and started to attack them, they would shoot him. He had to wait for the right moment, just as he had when he knocked the gun out of the Officer’s hand that day at the farmhouse. He had to keep his Mistress from being harmed, and he knew exactly how to do it.
The two men searched the cabin, and were unable to detect that someone had recently occupied it. Not knowing what they would find, they had tied their horses to a tree about a mile away and walked to the cabin. It was dark and they were weary. They decided this would be a good place to bed down for the night.
An hour went by and Soo’-TAH stealthily made his way to the cabin. The men were still seated at the table. They had found an oil lamp and placed it between them. They were oblivious to the fact that the Mistress was hiding beneath the floor not more than 4 feet from where they were sitting. Soo’-TAH wanted her to know he was near. It would ease her mind. He slowly walked a safe distance from the cabin and howled at the bright moon.
Beneath the floor inside the cabin, his Mistress smiled. She was not alone. Her fierce protector was there… waiting for the right moment to make himself known.