Indian Summer


Tess, Llewellyn, Pablito


* Finn, Colleen, Miriam, Adrienne, Mara and Indians

Summary: The Indian Summer begins

Date: June 13, 1883

Indian Summer

Llewellyn Farm

Sunday night at the Llewellyn's. Bri and mara had banished the children and Tess from the kitchen, Adrian was down in his workshop, puttering about the new Westinghouse generators and Adrienne was moping about the parlor, idly turning the pages of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, a signed edition that had been a gift to Tess from her husband.

"Ye'll wear the corners out if all ye do is turn them, lass… " Tess says, watching Adrienne from her own chair, where she was working on some mending. "Why do ye no' read it?"

The younger woman closes the book with a snap, and stands to replace it on the shelf, "Oh, mon ami, it is 'ard, oui? to read such in this dangerous time..I simply cannot!" She lowers her voice, "That..boy, the Marlowe child? he said the savages came onto the porch this morning, before the sun rose and tried the door."

Tess's jaw tenses a bit but she gives a nod. "Aye..they ddi…but they did no' gain entry, hmm? Nor will t hey. The Marlowes and our own men be watchin'."

Adrienne Sits abck in the chair, resting her hands on her stomach with a small frown. "Monsieur Marlowe looks savage himself. Why is it that 'e is so concerned with your family?"

Tess gives a bit of a shrug and puts down the small piece of baby clothing she was working on. "I do not ken, aye? But why look to God's gifts with anything but wonder. He is here, that is all that matters."

The younger woman shudders delicately, and replies, "'e frightens me, that one. So boldly does he watch me when I am about. But the boy seems rather nice, oui? is it true, ami, that his Maman is noir?"

Tess raises her green eyes to her friend again. "I do no' ken, aye? Mister Marlowe's wife is negro, aye. but the lad is from a'fore, I think…"

"Hmm," was Adrienne's only reply to that, then she changes the subject, "'e looks much like the Creoles back in Louisiana, oui? 'e would not stand out too much, do you t'ink?"

Tess gives a shrug and a nod. "Mayhap ye be right, hmmm? But his family cannae be sendin' him away. It costs money to be doin' such."

Adrienne taps a manicured forefinger to her lips, pursing them, "it is a shame, non, that the boy cannot 'ave a good education, oui?" She sighs, "I 'ad 'oped of course..but, there are many I suppose in New orleans to 'ire after ze bebe comes, oui?"

Tess tilts her head to the side. "Hoped what? And you are planning on returning after the babe, then?"

Adrienne smiles faintly, "Oui, mon cher. It is my 'ome, oui? And as you told me, I find little to do, once I 'ave completed the tasks your Maman sets me to. SHe smiles slightly, "'e folows me, you know, like ze puppy. Do not tell 'im, but I 'ave grown a bit fond of 'im."

Tess chuckles and shakes her head. "Aye..mayhap he be in love wi' ye then? If ye speak to his parents, they may let him go and get an education. But they, like many here, have no extra, Adrienne. Ye ken that, hmm? If ye've wish o' things t'be doin', I could teach ye to make things for your bairn>"

Adrienne smiles, dimpling, "Non, mon cher. Like ze children's story, ze needle would prick my thumb and I would become enchanted, oui?" She giggles and sits back, putting a hand to her lower back, sobering and glamncing out of the window at the gathering shadows of the trees. "Ze men, they 'ave searched ze woods today? I 'ave a bad feeling about today."

"THey searched them, lass. As they do every night, aye?", Tess says quietly. "Are ye feelin' fine otherwise, lass? I can ha' Bri come and see t'ye if needed."

"Non, is not that, oui? A shadow, like, somezing bad." Her fine, unmarked brow wrinkles with thought, "Like ze voodoo, oui? One can feel such t'ings, oui?"

Her dark eyes go wide and she stands suddenly, pointing out the window, and begins to babble in french, her voice holding a note of fright.

Tess frowns and puts her sewing down. She comes to stand beside the woman, peering out the window.

Outside, an Indian has appeared in the center of the yard, bare chested, armed only with a knife. He is young, but strongly muscled. His narrowed eyes are fixed on a small figure in a white sundress, todddlign towards him on unsteady feet.

Tess gasps and flees toward the porch. "Miri!", she cries out as she rips open the door and heads for the child, attempting to scoop up the toddler in her arms. "ADRIAN!"

A small figure in white cotton pants, barefoot and shirtless erupts from the privy like a brown cyclone, something shiny glinting in his hand as he streaks for the toddler, not even slowing as he pushes her down onto her butt in the grass.

Adrian's face appears in the window of his shop as the two boys come together in a flurry of glinting metal and flailing arms.

Gasping for air, Tess sweeps up the toddler and moves back toward the porch. "ADRIAN!", she calls out again, frightened green eyes on the tussling boys.

Her husband comes out of the shop, carrying the shotgun, and runs awkwardly towards the battling pair, his boots flopping open at the top, trailing the long laces.

Pablito had struck the brave low in the body, the two falling backwards as the Indian's blade opened a slight gash along his shoulder blade, glancing off the bone. The smaller boy's knife flashed into the brave's side, and ripped free in a geyser of blood.

Tess puts the baby down on the porch. With a fierce gaze, she looks at her daughter. "Ye stay, Miri. Do no' move..", she says with every ounce of firmness she has. Then she moves toward the fighting boys. "STop it..", she says, starting to take off her shawl to act as a bandage of sorts.

The trailing boot laces finally trip Adrian up, and he goes sprawling, but doesn't drop his gun. Outnumbered now, three to one, and one of those a smaller boy who fights with every bit as much skill as himself, the Indian breaks free, one hand on his side, running for the edge of the trees.

He stops several steps from the woods, and turns, the knife cocked over his shoulder, throwing it with force and unerring aim at Pablito, still recovering from the sudden breaking off of the fight.

From the woods, a rifle speaks, the knife spinning off to the side, and the brave disappears.

Tess frowns and watches as she runs toward Pablito. "Come, lad..are ye hurt bad?", she asks, starting to look him over. Her eyes move all over his body, searching for injury, as if she was his mother."

Pablito turns quickly at Tess' approach, his black eyes blazing with a cold fire, his gory blade gripped tightly in his hand.

Adrian, on his feet again, arrives, his amber eyes scanning the woods, "An' tis thanking ye as well, Lad I am." he too looks the boy over, but pablito's gaze is fixed on someone else, Adrienne, who is clutching the post of the porch in one hand, and Miriam in the other. more feet pound from all directions, and the boy gives one more looks around before fleeing in the same direction the Indian had taken, a thin stream of blood staining his back and pants.

"Pablito!" Tess cries as he heads away from her. She frowns and starts after him, not catching who he'd been looking at.

Adrian catches her arm, "Muirnin, no! Tis no' safe in the trees, if they have gotten so close. Let the lad go, I am sure he will return anon."

Adrienne had caught the dark look, however, and she paled, swaying. Still clutching both the post and Miriam, she sinks slowly to the porch, her full skirt riding up her legs, exposing a short length of leg.

Tess sags a bit against Adrian and nods. "But why…why are they comin'…", she says quietly. She then turns to regard the porch. "Adrienne…are ye..are ye well, lass?", she asks softly.

Adrian supports Tess as they slowly make their way towards the porch. "I ken nae their motive, muirnin, but tis two I can think of..our wee lass and food." At the steps, he frees miri from Adrienne's mindless grip, and hoists her into his arms, "And ye, me wee in bloody hell did you get free, hmm?" Miriam smiles at him, babbles and drools, then points towards the woods, "Mans!"

Tess turns quickly at the words from the toddler. "Where?", she asks, even while reaching to squeeze Adrienne's shoulder. She says, somewhat distractedly. "Are ye alright, lass?'

Miriam grins widely, points again and repeats, "Mans!" She had been with Colleen and Finn, playing hide and seek around mara's garden and house.

Adrienne regains a bit of color, and murmurs, "Oui..per'aps..per'aps a small brandy, oui?" She stands, pulling herself up, and turns shakily for the door, stopping to stroke Miriam's hair.

Tess's green eyes continue to search for the 'mans' that Miriam is pointing to. "Where are the mans, Miri?", she asks quietly. "No brandy, Adrienne, hmm?"

The younger woman just disappears into the house, however, holding herself up with one hand. She proceeds straight to her room, as Adrian turns to look into the woods with narrowed eyes. A flicker of a leaf draws his eye, and he hurriedly hands the toddler to Tess', raising the shotgun at the movement.

Pablito steps from the trees, pulling a twig from his hair, and glancing once at the small group, before heading back to the privy.

Tess holds tight to the child, keeping her against her body and turning a bit as if to protect her should something happen. "Shhh…Miri…", she says, even as she watches Pablito come out of the forest.

Adrian excuses himself, and goes to the side of the privy, speaking through the walls to Pablito. Their conversation is short, and unintelligible to those on the porch, but he returns and says, "Collie and Finn..where are the pair o' divils?"

Tess shakes her head. "I do no' ken….", she says with a frown. "They were sent ou' t'be playin', aye? While Mam an' Bri make supper."

Adrian frowns slightly, "Speaking to that lad is akin to speaking at a wall. I kenna get from him a straight answer, only more questions, aye?" he shakes his head and mutters under his breath, "Tis enough to make me wish for a glass o' brandy meself."

"What did he say?', Tess says, starting to move back into the house. "I will get us all brandy, if ye like." She sits Miri down on the carpet. "Ye stay, lass…."

Adrian sits down and pulls the toddler into his lap, then looks up at tess, "Nay, muirnin, twas a passing fancy only. I wish to keep a clear head, aye?" he holds Miriam tightly for a moment, and lets her wiggle free. "He asked who was in the woods with the rifle, and why they did no' stop the savages earlier."

Tess frowns. "In the woods wi' the rifle?", she says, turning to look at him again, a hand resting on her midsection for a brief second. "no one, aye? Unless it be Mister Marlowe, mayhap?"

"Well, I clearly heard a rifle shot, and someone certainly did cause that thrown knife to miss the lad", Adrian replies stubbornly. "I hardly think, if it were Marlowe, he would nae hae come up afterwards, or hidden himself from the lad, aye?"

Mara steps out, wiping her hands on a towel, and says, her vocie a tad frosty, "If ye all have done with the excitement, dinner is growing cold on the sideboard."

"Aye…." Tess says with a frown. "Mayhap it be one o' the lads…Sean or Liam…" She looks over to Mara and gives a nod. "Aye, Mam. I will go an' get Adrienne, hmm?"

"Aye, muirnin, p'raps ye are aright," he replies, thoughtfully, then calls out, "FINNEGAN! COLLEEN! Dinner!" The pair do not reply, nor do they come running, prompting a second, louder call.

Pablito steps from the privy, looks significantly towards the woods, then heads for the bunkhouse, where the men are all eating or playing cards.

Tess knocks on Adrienne's door and says gently. "Dinner, lass….", she says, even as she hears Adrian call a second time for the younger children. She shakes her head and heads out toward the main house. "Ha' they no' responded yet?"

Adrienne emerges, still pale, but sans brandy, and nods, "Oui, mon cher, I will be down in a moment." Adrian calls back, "Nay, muirnin, they hae no'..I will sear..BLOODY 'ell!"

Tess nods to Adrienne and then frowns at Adrian's words. She comes out toward the main area. "Bloody hell what?", she asks, starting for the porch to call for the children gain.

With grimy, sheepish faces, the two middle Llewellyns emerge from the trees, Finn lugging a rifle in both hands, the stock decorated with a leather wrap and shiny studs. Collie follows him, a pace behind, her head own, her braids in a shambles.

Tess blinks as she watches her children come out of the woods. her hands rest on her hips and her brows go up. "An' what, pray tell, happened t'ye?"

Coming up to the porch, Finn scuffs his foot on the ground, then looks up at his Mother, "We just wanted to help too!" he exclaims. "We was playing hide and go seek with Miriam, and we saw an injun hide this, and start calling Miri with whistles." he holds up the rifle to show Tess.

"Wi' whistles?" Tess asks, reaching for the rifle. "An' so, instead o' callin' for help, ye went in search of them?" Her voice holds a note of disbelief. "An' then?"

Finn nods, and hands the rifle over. Clearly, it is an Indian's weapon, "We were scared there might be others, so we hid..then Pablito, he come running at the injun, and..and..I shot the gun." Staring at the ground, not speaking, Collie fills in, ''lito, he chased after the injun, Mam, but there were more. they was both bleeding."

"More Indians?" Tess says, a bit breathlessly. "An' the lads both were bleeding?" She loooks up at Adrian a moment, concern in her eyes.

Collie nods vigorously, glad the attention is off their own indiscretion, 'Two more. 'lito ran back, his back was bleeding, the injun's side was all bloody. When he came past us, he said to stay hid, until Da or him came, then he made the injuns follow him."

"Saints and angels…" Tess breaths. "Alright.. ye all go back up to the house. An' no more sneakin, ye ken. I will..go find Pablito. Adrian…."

His amber eyes dark with worry and a touch of anger, Adrian replies, "Aye, lass..tis a word I'll be havin' with that lad." he looks at finn 'Twas a fine shot, or a lucky one, boyo, but if I ken ye shooting toward the hosue again, tis a thrashing ye shall have! ye could have hurt someone."

Tess nods her agreement. "But ye be no' in trouble. Go get cleaned up, aye? And we will discuss this later? Gran has dinner for ye….", she says quietly. "I need my'll come with me, Adrian, aye?"

"Aye, tis no out of my sight ye will be, Lass." he scoops the toddler off the porch, taking her into the kitchen to be minded by responsible adults.

Tess slips in to get her tending basket. She frowns, trying to think of a way to do this without making Pablito feel like less. She looks upa t Adrian again. "Mayhap ye should tend him? So as no' t'be seen as a motherin' hen."

Adrienne steps out onto the porch and holds out her hand, "I will, mon ami, tend to ze boy, oui?" Her skin is still pale, but there is a determined set to her chin. Adrian stares at the younger woman for a time, then steps aside, "mas oui, Madamoiselle," he murmurs, taking the tending basket from Tess.

Tess nods slowly. "He be no' a boy any longer me thinks…", she says quietly. "I will see to the others an' try t'be gettin' more out o' finn…"

Adrienne takes the basket, and makes her way to the bunkhouse, her chin held high. That building clears out moments after she enters, and Adrian takes his wife's arm, "Well, p'raps a further interrogation might wait until we have eaten? I understand mara has prepared fried chicken."

Tess nods quietly and lets Adrian lead her. "Aye…", she says quietly. "Fried chicken be welcome." She pauses though and lays her forehead on his arm. "I will no' be losin' all my bairns, Adrian..>"

Adrian's own chin has a determined set to it. 'Nay, we shall no' be losing any o' them,' a single one." He strokes her hair softly, "Come, eat, twill all be aright. And, on the morrow, tis a talk I will be having with Mister Marlowe. These savages must be hunted down and extyerminated."


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