Wind Warrior

( 27 )

Overview

With all the drama, sensuality and action that she is known for, O'Banyon spins a thrilling tale of a beautiful white captive and the Blackfoot warrior who wins her heart.
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Overview

With all the drama, sensuality and action that she is known for, O'Banyon spins a thrilling tale of a beautiful white captive and the Blackfoot warrior who wins her heart.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477833155
  • Publisher: Montlake Romance
  • Publication date: 3/25/2014
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Wind Warrior


By Constance O'Banyon

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Evelyn Gee
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8439-6301-4


Chapter One

Montana Wilderness, 1859

Snow whipped down the gully in great gusts, its strength tearing at the bearskin robe draped about the young Blackfoot's shoulders. He-Who-Waits shivered from uncertainty as well as from the icy fingers of winter that stung his cheeks.

Word had spread throughout the village that the council of elders was meeting to settle an important matter, and even though he was in his sixteenth year, and a warrior in training, He-Who-Waits approached the lodge with heavy misgiving. He, who had never been allowed inside the council lodge, had been summoned to appear before the elders.

What could they want with him? he wondered.

What had he done that would require their attention?

Pausing at the lodge opening, He-Who-Waits drew in a deep breath, summoning his courage and trying to ignore the knot that had tightened in his stomach.

As a member of the Blood Blackfoot tribe, he had been taught from birth never to show fear. Swallowing hard, he could feel the rhythm of his own heartbeat thudding in his veins.

He-Who-Waits was aware he was considered a loner by the rest of the tribe. Even his boyhood companions did not understand his need for solitude. While they looked forward to the camaraderie of a hunt, he would much rather climb into the mountains and study thesky, the rock formations, and the rich green pine forests. When his friends happily clamored to practice with bow and lance, he was often found walking along the riverbank, listening to the wind as if he heard something no one else could.

Suddenly the lodge flap was thrown open and He-Who-Waits stepped back a pace when he saw his father standing before him. He flinched-if his own father had been called to the meeting, something serious was transpiring.

White Owl swept his hand forward, indicating his son should enter. "You must not keep the elders waiting," he said in a gruff voice. "Already they have asked what has delayed you."

Feeling the weight of his father's rebuke, He-Who-Waits experienced great shame. "I ask your forgiveness, Father. I found an injured hawk, and tried to heal its broken wing. I believe it will survive."

White Owl frowned as he looked at his son. The young warrior's mother had died giving him birth, and White Owl had allowed his son too much freedom. "Nothing should have been as important to you as attending this meeting."

The young man sobered. "It will not happen again."

"Go inside," White Owl said, with an edge to his tone.

He-Who-Waits was taller than most young warriors is age, so he was forced to duck his head to enter. The only illumination came from the fire in the middle of the lodge, and it took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the faint light. Shields, bows, and lances covered the leather interior, reminders of successful battles of the past. He recognized his family's mark on one of the shields and wondered which of his ancestors had been honored by having his shield displayed.

A war lance with three crow feathers caught his attention and he knew it had once belonged to his grandfather, Black Feather, who had died in a fierce battle against the Arapaho. The tales of his grandfather's daring deeds were still told around the campfires.

White Owl cleared his throat, bringing his son's attention back to the matter at hand. He-Who-Waits was startled when he noticed everyone's attention centered on him. He glanced at the chief, Broken Lance, who appeared to be watching him closely. Dipping his head, he respectfully acknowledged the great leader, who was seated to the right of the three elders.

He-Who-Waits was surprised to see his brother, Dull Knife, also seated at the council fire.

Lowering himself onto a buffalo robe beside his brother, He-Who-Waits met the unflinching stare of each elder. His gaze halted on Lean Bear, the eldest and most respected member of the council. It seemed to him the old man's eyes darkened with disapproval, so he quickly looked away.

He-Who-Waits feared he was in real trouble.

Broken Lance spoke, "It has been decided that in the spring, a war party will raid along the Missouri River, striking at the heart of our enemy, the white soldiers from Fort Benton." The chief looked at Dull Knife. "I expect you to lead our warriors and bloody your tomahawks to avenge the females who were killed at berry-picking season last spring."

Dull Knife nodded.

"You will make certain," Broken Lance continued, "that the white man learns he cannot come to our lands and kill our people without reprisal."

Dull Knife raised his head to a proud tilt. It was a great honor to be asked to lead a war party. "I will do as you say. I will slay as many enemies as cross my path."

The chief agreed with a nod. "My woman still weeps for the daughter we lost. Though Tall Woman does not ask for revenge, I ask it for her." The chief shook his head. "Nothing can soothe her grief, but your raids will help put out the fire of revenge that burns inside me."

Dull Knife's eyes hardened. "I will slay two for every tribe member we lost that day. And as special revenge on the white race, I shall take one of their girl children to replace the daughter you lost in that raid."

He-Who-Waits frowned, his gaze settling on his brother's face. Dull Knife seemed eager to please the chief, but unaware of the trouble that taking a child from the white soldiers could bring upon their people. Something stirred in his mind-a warning. It had something to do with the raid, but the thought was gone before he could grasp it.

"Many of us lost family that day," Broken Lance stated. "Though my woman still grieves for her loss, no white child can replace the daughter she loved. Still, bring all the young white females you can."

He-Who-Waits had lost a sister in the same raid that had claimed the daughter of the chief. The white soldiers had come upon the women as they picked berries. It had been a senseless massacre because the women had had no weapons to defend themselves. The soldiers had spared no one, and many innocents had died that day.

Still, He-Who-Waits wondered why he had been asked to attend this council-surely the elders did not expect him to join the raiding party.

He was inexperienced-not a trained warrior like his brother, who had fought in many battles. He-Who-Waits was suddenly startled out of his musings when he heard the chief speak his father's name.

"White Owl, my friend, I have chosen you to lead those tribe members who wish to live in Canada, far from the threat of the white soldiers. You will leave in the spring and be away for two turnings of the seasons, until they are settled in their new land. The elders have called this meeting so you can say what needs to be said before you depart."

"I accept the task of taking our people to Canada," White Owl said.

"Now is the time," Lean Bear intoned, "for you to speak of that which was foretold many summers ago." His voice cracked with emotion. His gaze rested briefly on White Owl. "Is that not so?"

"It is so," White Owl answered. "This is the day that I saw in my vision quest when I was in my twelfth summer, the time when most young boys seek their true name. Instead I was given a name to pass to my son."

He-Who-Waits glanced at his father with growing interest. White Owl had never spoken of his quest, although He-Who-Waits had asked him about it many times. His father had always said he would tell his sons when the time was right.

"Speak to us of the quest," prodded Black Bear, the youngest member of the council. "Let us know of the new name your son will receive here today."

White Owl nodded. "At the time of my quest, I went into the sweat lodge and lay upon my robe while my father poured water over hot stones. The steam was so thick, I could not even see my father when he left the lodge. I closed my eyes, waiting for my vision. For two days and one night I waited, thinking I must be unworthy to receive a new name. When my vision finally came to me, it was like nothing I had expected." White Owl paused for a moment as if he was reliving the experience. "A voice in my head whispered that I would have a son who would be a great warrior, and many would follow him in a time of great tribulation for our tribe. I was further told that this son would hear messages on the wind, and even the animals would speak to him. I was told this son must have a special name to signify his importance to the tribe."

He-Who-Waits glanced at his brother, awed by the unheard-of honor that was being bestowed upon Dull Knife. He had always been proud of his brother's achievements and was glad to be there to witness this great occasion.

"We will hear more of this vision," Lean Bear croaked, pulling his buffalo robe tighter about his frail body. "Have we not waited years to be told of it?"

White Owl took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment. When he spoke, his voice trembled. "The wind whipped past the lodge flap, stealing my breath. At first I heard only a soft whisper ... it was like nothing I had ever felt before or since." He paused for a moment, trying to find the right words. "It felt as if the wind was moving through my entire body."

Surprised murmurs rumbled through the lodge. Everyone looked amazed except for Broken Lance, who seemed to know what White Owl was about to say. The chief held his hand up to silence the others. "Let him speak."

White Owl seemed reluctant to continue, and his voice was low as he said, "The voice spoke not for me, but for my son. Of course I was confused. I was told I would have two sons and one daughter. I was told my eldest son would be a mighty warrior."

White Owl glanced at Dull Knife with a slight smile. "You have accomplished that."

Dull Knife raised his head proudly. However, the pleased expression froze on his face at his father's next words.

"But my vision was not meant for you, my son." White Owl's gaze dropped to his younger son. "My vision was for you."

He-Who-Waits whipped his head toward his father, not comprehending his words. "It must be a mistake," he whispered, turning to look at his brother. "I do not understand."

"Nor did I at first," White Owl answered. "You must put yourself in my place; I was but a boy when this vision came to me. I was confused as to its true meaning-but through the years I began to understand what the voice meant. Have you never wondered why I kept you from going on your own vision quest, my son?"

He-Who-Waits nodded, feeling shame creep into the deepest parts of his mind. "I have always thought I was unworthy."

White Owl laid his hand on the young man's shoulder. "Nay, my son. You are most worthy. Have I not watched your kindness to others, your generosity to those in need? Have I not seen you help those who could not help themselves? I was told to wait until your sixteenth winter, and that I have done. Now the time is right for you to have the name that belongs to you."

He-Who-Waits could not answer past the lump in his throat. In truth he was confused, and even a little concerned.

White Owl turned his attention to the council, but his words were for his younger son. "After this day, my son shall no longer be known as He-Who-Waits-his waiting is over. I was told he would be called 'Wind Warrior.'" White Owl smiled down at his younger son. "From this day forward, let no man call you He-Who-Waits."

Wind Warrior's mind was filled with questions that he dared not ask in the presence of this honored body of warriors. He thought of the name his father had just bestowed on him, and wondered at it.

His father motioned for him to stand. "Go now to each of the elders and listen to their words of wisdom."

Wind Warrior stood, reluctant to look at his brother, who had been passed over in favor of himself. In truth, he wished his father's vision had been for Dull Knife instead of him.

As he passed before the council members, they touched his arm and called him by his new name. Some told him to look to the future, others warned him to remember the past. When he finally turned to face his brother, he saw dark anger in Dull Knife's eyes, and from somewhere inside a warning of danger swept through Wind Warrior's mind.

But why should he fear the brother he had always revered?

Wind Warrior's thoughts took a curious path-with a suddenness that surprised him, all pretense was stripped away and he saw Dull Knife as he really was; his brother was eaten up with jealously and filled with hate and resentment, and it was all directed at him-it always had been.

Why had he not seen that before?

Dull Knife's face was cast in harsh shadows, but his eyes gleamed with hatred. When he spoke, his tone was callous and threatening, and he did not care who heard him. "Today the honor is yours, little brother. But do not think you will ever be as good as me. Be wary about what the future brings. Look to your back, for I will be there." Dull Knife nodded curtly at his chief, ignored his father, then stalked across the lodge, forcefully thrusting the flap aside and departing without taking leave of the elders.

For a moment there was silence. White Owl glanced at Wind Warrior, seeing the confusion in his eyes. "If all that I saw the night of my vision comes to pass, Dull Knife will covet everything that is yours, my son," he warned, his dark eyes filled with pain "I tell you this with a heavy heart, for I love you both. Respect your brother, but do not trust him."

"Your father speaks with wisdom," Broken Lance said, nodding at the young warrior in dismissal. "But there is always a fog over the future, and we cannot know all that is to come. Allow your instincts to guide you."

Wind Warrior followed his father outside. He hardly noticed it had stopped snowing and the sun had poked through the clouds-his mind was occupied with troubled thoughts.

How could he become a mighty warrior?

How could he save the tribe from disaster?

He raised his face to the sky as the wind rifled through his hair. He had to find out the meaning of his new name. He would seek the high country for answers.

Word spread quickly through the village about what had occurred at the council meeting. As Wind Warrior rode across the river on his way to the mountains, many curious gazes followed him.

With rage in his heart, Dull Knife stood in the shadow of a pine tree, watching his brother ride up the opposite embankment. Was he not the eldest son? Should not the honor bestowed on his brother have been his?

With anger still boiling inside him, Dull Knife turned away. He would recapture his glory in the spring; he would tie feathers in his hair, and paint his face. He would lead the warriors to victory over the white soldiers, and everyone would praise him.

His father's vision might belong to his brother, but come spring, the honor would be his. Staring across the river, Dull Knife was determined to make his own future.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Wind Warrior by Constance O'Banyon Copyright © 2010 by Evelyn Gee. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exciting Indian romance

    In 1859 in the Montana Wilderness, Blackfoot warriors led by Dull Knife capture thirteen year old Marianna Bryant. Dull Knife's brother recently renamed Wind Warrior after being called He-Who-Waits is attracted to the captive called Rain Song especially her courage and her adaptation to the tribal lifestyle. He knows she is his future mate, but is careful as his people know he is ordained to one day become their leader.

    Envious with ire Dull Knife hates his sibling who he feels has not earned the adulation of the Council and the rest of the tribe; nor proven he can lead as prophesized because he believes Wind Warrior is too compassionately weak to kill their enemies. When Dull Knife claims Rain Song as his squaw, the sibling rivalry ignites to the point they endanger the tribe.

    This is an exciting Indian romance starring a brave heroine and the two brothers who compete over everything including her. The story line is fast-paced yet provides a deep look at life in a Montana Blackfoot village. Fans will enjoy this engaging historical romantic triangle as Constance O'Banyon brings alive her villagers during the Civil War.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    Highly recommended - once I started reading, I did not want to stop

    Wonderfully written Native American historical romance novel. It is complete with a beautiful white female captive who causes two bothers to go beyond competitive sibling rivalry to win her favor. The hero in this story starts out as a loner totally misunderstood by the tribal elders, but quickly becomes a respected leader of his people.
    This is a book you can get lost in and forget the world around you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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