Violent Content Warning: This story contains scenes of a violent nature.
Alternative Content Warning: This story also contains scenes of a loving nature between two women. This story is not for those under the age of eighteen.
Timeline: Set during the French and Indian War.
Uber Warning: This story is an uber. The characters are based off of the leading ladies of XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS.
Authors Notes: All POSITIVE comments are welcome. Negatives I will simply ignore. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rules of War
Every day that I have been here, I have questioned my decisions. I joined the British in their fight, but the French occupation of our colonies was larger than I ever anticipated. Despite the English boosts of crushing the French in one swift blow, they are a worthy opponent. I have seen the carnage that this war has caused. As the artillery blasts shake the walls, I become more uneasy. My companion and I are trapped within this fort. My mind couldnt help, but return to the days before this siege.
As I saw the walls of Fort Niagra, I was sure that we were winning, capturing any fort within the Frenchs own borders, Canada, was a triumph in itself. When the commander himself, General Wolfe, asked me to join him in Quebec because I was the best civilian nurse he had ever seen, I had to. I smiled at the friendly, disciplined soldiers. I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy the looks of the clean cut English gentleman, but I know they are not for me.
It didnt take long for me to settle in and learn the ways of the just recently captured fort. Though the appearance was quite astonishing, the stench of death was all around me. As with many military posts in the area, many men and innocents have lost their lives here. I was scared. We are on foreign soil. There was no guarantee we wont be overrun and the French will claim the fort once more. The battle to take the city is well underway. If Quebec falls, the French will fall.
I will be grateful to return to my home in South Carolina, return to my father and sister. My mother was killed by a French patrol scouting the area for strategic locations. Father became so angry. He blamed the French for all of the colonies problems, which I know isnt true. He joined the South Carolina militia, leaving my sister and I to work the land. She dealt with Mothers death in her own way. Flora married her suitor, Colin. When the opportunity came, I joined the militia nurses. A fierce battle in New York brought me face-to-face with General James Wolfe. I saved his life. Understandably, he asked me to join his unit. I have been with him ever since. So, here I am ..in Canada.
Sudden blasts of muskets brought me out of my reminiscing. I manned my station, just outside the hospital door. The cold air hit me as I opened the door to the outside. I shivered and stepped out into the smoked filled air. My job was to help any injured soldiers into the hospital. My friend Ella was by my side as usual. "Theyre coming!!!!" a soldier yelled from somewhere on the wall.
"Whos coming, Jenny?" Ella asked. We heard the war cries. I recognized them.
"Huron." I said, not hiding the fear in my voice. The Huron are fierce Indians, very fierce. They have an alliance and trade agreement with the French. France supplies them with muskets, tomahawks, and whiskey. They are not going to let go of that easily. It is their lifeblood to have weapons in this fierce country, especially with the growing feud between them and the colonists.
It happened so fast. After the last firing of the wall guards, Huron heads appeared everywhere on the wall. My heart went into my throat. I watched man after man fall from tomahawks, musket balls, knifes, arrows, every weapon that a person could carry. We were paralyzed with fear. Turning to my left, a scream caught my attention, then an Indian. It was woman. I could tell by the long, dark hair. Many Huron men shaved their heads in this region. She pulled the soldier up by his hair and slashed his throat with her tomahawk. I was pulled by the arm, into the fort. "Stay put, Miss." the soldier said. I was still paralyzed. The black paint on the womans face and neck was burned into my mind. Men poured into the hospital. Most of them were doomed to perish within hours from their wounds.
It was within the hour that all of the firing and screams stopped. I was relieved when I saw that we had driven them away, killing some, but our casualties were higher. As I finished with a leg wound, I was approached by Sergeant Hanson. "Miss Thomas."
"Could you gather a few of your medical supplies? We have a few wounded captors in the prison."
"Of course." It was more routine that allowed me to keep my calm. I have always feared caring for the enemy. I am always afraid that I will be killed by an unsatisfied patient. Despite that, I know my duty.
With a bundle of bandages under my arm, I walk across the grounds to the prison on the opposite of the fort. Even in the daylight, it was dark inside. I enter. The first cell is unlocked for me. The guard accompanies me inside. It held a Huron warrior with a knife slash to the forearm. After caring for him, the second cell was opened. Once again a guard accompanied me inside. I moved to the cot that held my next patient. Their face turned to me as I approached. It was her. It was the woman I saw jump over the wall. I tried to hide my surprise, but I believe I was unsuccessful. I looked her over for her wound. I immediately saw her injury. Blood soaked through her skins at her left shoulder. I turned to the man behind me, who seemed to be ogling her. "Could you step outside?"
"No, Miss. I cant leave you here alone with a prisoner."
"I have to remove her shirt." I saw the glint in his eye that almost made me want to strike him.
"She might overpower you."
"Shes too weak to do anything!" I argued. "She has lost too much blood ..Go stand over by the door. You can get to me if you have to."
I waited until he was a respectful distance away before removing her shirt. It was a nasty wound. "What is this? A bayonet?" I called back.
"Yes." The man called. I began to clean the wound, noticing the beautiful tan to her skin.
"Do you speak English?" I asked. No response. I was unsure whether it was because she didnt or couldnt due to her condition. "Le Francaise?" No response. "You need to lie still and rest. Youve lost a lot of blood and this wound is bad." Using the gentlest methods I could, I patched up her shoulder. I smiled and caressed her forehead as I stood, hoping to tell her in my actions that I was here to help. Her eyes met mine. I suddenly realized that her eyes were blue. An Indian with blue eyes? She must be part white, possibly a fourth. Her skin was too dark to be only half. "Ill be back to change your dressing tomorrow I say as I gather my supplies." I attended to the rest of the captured Huron, with the womans face in my mind.
After instructing the kitchen on the foods my patients need, I headed for General Wolfes quarters with the news. As I entered the room, I could hear him shouting orders to the various officers. "I want the fleet to move here, Admiral!" the General said as he pointed to a map. I turned and saw the commander of the British fleet. I could not believe I was actually standing in this room filled with such high ranking officers dressed like a barmaid. Admiral Saunters. He was commanding no less than 20 ships along the borders of Canada, which was the main reason we crushed the French and took control of Quebec. "Thatll be all, Gentleman." Despite my disheveled appearance, all of them smiled at me. That is a true test of British manners. "Ah, Miss Thomas, come in."
"Thank you, Sir."
"How are the prisoners?"
"Two have minor cuts. One had a musket ball in his foot, which I removed. He should be able to walk in a few days. Another was wounded in the chest. The woman has a bad bayonet wound to the shoulder." I said shakily, remembering the sight of it. "Shes in pretty bad shape."
"Thank you, Miss Thomas. I shall release the two with minor injuries."
"What of the woman and the other men?"
"I will trust them to your good hand, Miss Thomas."
The task of marking bodies for burial was never an easy one. However, this occasion seemed even more difficult. I heard the men speaking in anger about the Huron war party that had attacked us. I was surprised to find among the Huron dead were two more women. They wanted to burn the bodies, but the procedure of General Wolfe has always been to leave them outside of the perimeter for the enemy to claim. I preferred that method. Even despite my anger with the French dead. When the task was done, the sun had already set. I headed for my quarters, hoping to get in a few hours sleep.
When I awoke and couldnt sleep anymore, I gathered my supplies and once again headed for the prison. There was no question by the guards as they unlock the cell of the woman. Her eyes open, yet she is too weak to move. Her head turns to me. She recognizes my face. "Hello." I say softly. I grab the small stool near the bed and sit by her bedside. I take a moment to study her face. The war paint had been removed. Her eyes were so striking, I couldnt help but stare. Her eyes never wavered. She simply stared into my eyes. I could smell blood, sweat, and other powerful aromas from the skins that she has been wearing since her capture. Oh gods, how am I going to explain to her that I need to remove her clothing? The smell wasnt the only reason, but to also check her for minor injuries. "I need to ah rem..take off." I gestured with my hands, "your clothing." I tugged lightly on her skins. Her expression never changed. It was blank. I couldnt deduce whether she understood what I was saying or not.
I took a risk and began to remove her leggings. Her legs were just as beautiful as the rest of her. There were small scars on her calves, probably old battle wounds. I dropped her leggings next to her moccasins, which looked more like boots, coming all the way up her calve, than shoes, which were still made of some type of cloth material. They were probably traded for. I removed the armbands from her biceps, the feather from her hair, the necklace from her neck, and the bracelet on her wrist. I smiled at her as I looked at the adornments. They were absolutely beautiful. It was truly amazing that her people made these things by hand.
I felt my hands begin to shake as I began to remove her breechcloth. Being a steady handed surgeon, it frightened me. The darkness gave us enough privacy as I began to check her. I felt her ribs for breaks, which sent heat to lower parts of my body. There were several dark bruises on her thighs, a few scratches on her left hip, but nothing serious. I breathed a sigh of relief. "Okay, looks like all we have to worry about is this shoulder." I said as I covered her body with a blanket. Her face held no expression, even when I stripped her. The wound was showing signs of healing. The bleeding had stopped. "Youre doing well." I smiled. "I wish I had something to call you." I breathed as I began to cleanse the wound. "How about Quiet?" I chuckled. "Since you dont talk to me." No reaction, just that blank look. I wrapped it with a cleaning dressing. Covering her up, I turned and began to pick up her clothing. "Ill have these cleaned and returned to you today. You get some rest. Ill be back later Quiet."
I have two other Huron patients to attend to each day, but Quiet is the one that is foremost on my mind. It is not because she has the worst injury. I try to immerse myself in my work, but her face will not leave me. It was finally time for another check of the prison. I was surprised, almost startled, to see Quiet sitting on the edge of her bed. She was fully dressed in her cleaned skins, with exception of her shirt. It had been replaced by a white, cotton one. "Perhaps, I should accompany you this time, Miss." the young guard said.
"Ill be fine." As he opens the door, I slide in. "Hi, Quiet." She continues to be expressionless. I would be lying if I said I wasnt nervous now. It was easy to do things to her when she was too weak to resist. I have seen her muscular body myself. She could break me in half. "You look great." I smile. I wasnt lying. Her full color had returned; she was no longer pale. Obviously she was stronger now and was able to pull her shirt back on. Now I will have to remove it. I began to feel as I did the first time I had to treat her, terrified. Even though she never acknowledged me, Quiet was never hostile or angry ..at least on the outside.
I approach her carefully. I gesture by pulling on my blouse. "Can I see your shoulder?" She understands and removes her shirt. I am embarrassed to say that the first place my eyes rested on was not her wound. I may have made a crucial mistake. I was lucky, either she didnt notice or she didnt care. I moved to her and began to remove her bandage. "Looks good." I smile. I cleanse it once again before rewrapping it. There was one major difference I saw in Quiet today, besides the obvious. She was watching my every move by turning her head. At first I was afraid, but I realized her eyes were merely observing me. I take a seat on the stool and look at her. I blow out a breath, giving the appearance that I am taking a break from the days labors. I freeze as her hand moves up. With the tips of her fingers, she touches my face. I do not move or pull away. I lean into her gentle fingers. Suddenly her arm comes down, so swiftly that I barely realize that she is no longer touching me. I hear the reason before I see it, the clinking of English boots on the stone floor as the guard passes. Quiet is very smart. She knew she could not be caught touching me. Has she ever been a prisoner of war before? I wish I could just ask her. Within the last few days, Ive been scouring the fort for someone who can speak the language of the Huron. No one seems to be able to. Thus, I must learn to communicate on my own.
The next day started out like any other, except for the news of a small band of French soldiers heading our way. The fort was not too concerned with them. They insist that our full compliment could withstand an attack. I was given news the previous night that Quiet was not going to be released. I know she did not want to be a prisoner, but I am enjoying her company. I move into her cell. She is standing and walking today. In fact, by her impatient pacing, she gave the appearance of a caged spirit. The appearance I expected the first day. She stopped when I came in. I listened as the guard moved away. "Hi, Quiet."
"Aronia." I almost jumped back at the sound of her voice. She saw this and moved closer. I started to back away.
"I have no idea what you just said, but I dont want any trouble." I was ready to call the guard when she gestured, shaking her head no.
"No trouble." I knew my facial expression was priceless. My jaw dropped out of shock.
"You speak English?" She put her finger to her lips, silencing me as the guard checked us and moved on.
"How did you learn?" I asked excitedly.
"My grandmother was white." In my excitement, I forgot the reason I was hear.
"How is your shoulder?" She smiled.
"Better Thank you."
"For helping me and my people."
"Its my job."
"I do not believe that was the only reason ..You care for others, even your enemies."
"Thats new to you, isnt it? The Huron take no prisoners. Right?"
"We are Wendat. English gave us the name Huron."
"We do not care for our enemies."
I saw the compassion for me in her eyes, but certainly not compassion for the English. "You are Colonial."
"Yes, South Carolina."
"The English released the Wendat. Will I be set free?"
"I cant say, Quiet."
"Aronia. My name is Aronia." Once again, our talking ceased as the guard walked by.
"Let me take a look at your shoulder." She removed her arm from her sleeve. I pushed the shirt up enough to glance at the wound. "It is better. I dont believe you will need anymore dressings." I smile. Then it hits me full force. Aronia will be leaving soon. Her hands rise to mine and cover them. She gently grasps them and pulls me around to face her.
"Why so sad?"
"You will be leaving soon." I say honestly. Her smile is so beautiful, as beautiful as I thought it would be. She leans closer .and closer. Her lips touch mine. They are soft. I am not ashamed to say that I kissed her back. My knees trembled. Her hands, tough but soft, framed my face as she deepened the kiss. Aronia pulled away as the guard made his way to the other side of the compound. Her eyes held love, something I have never seen. Father hid his emotions so well. I scarcely remember a hug from my youth. I knew it was love. I just knew.
Suddenly a thunderous roar shook the entire fort! We cowered slightly. "What the hell was that?" I said to myself, knowing full well what it truly was.
"Cannons." Aronia said quietly. My heart began to beat wildly, this time with fear.
"I have to go!" I scream above the sound of another blast, this one closer. "Ill come back for you, if we are overrun."
"No! I will be fine." She counters. "Go! Run for the woods. I will find you." I didnt respond to her. The guard ran to me, hurriedly unlocking the door. As I slipped through the door, another blast shook us. I was thrown forward. Without thinking, Aronia started towards me.
"Get back, Savage!" the guard yelled, poking her with the tip of his bayonet. He locked the door, putting the keys on his belt. I exchanged one last look with her before running for my post.
It was worse than anyone thought. The sound of the French advancing was all around us. I managed, in the chaos, to slip by a wall guard and run up the steps to the top. I was almost in awe at the numbers waiting to attack us. "Get off the wall, Miss!" a soldier screamed as a barrage of cannon fire bombarded the fort. Three soldiers fell before I reached the steps from the musket fire that now seemed to be all around me. I nearly fell trying to get down the steps as fast as I could. Our forces were being slaughtered. Even our cannons were not holding back the wave of men.
I ran back towards the compound. To the average eye it would appear I was running from the danger, but truthfully, what I was about to do is the most dangerous thing I could do. As I entered the prison, I began looking for something, anything to use. I knew I would have to take what I wanted by force. There was no other way. I saw an old musket leaning against the wall. In one visit here, I heard that it did not work. Grabbing by the barrel, I walked slowly towards the holding cells. I heard the guard. He was walking away from me, heading towards the other end of the compound. I walked up as quietly as I could, holding the musket as a club. I swung with all of the force I could muster, striking the young man in the back of the head with the stock. I dropped my weapon. "Jenny." Aronia called from her cell. Momentary shock came over me. I had no idea she knew my name. The two remaining Huron looked on also as I grabbed the keys off of the soldiers belt. I unlocked Aronias cell with shaky hands. I grabbed her hand and began to lead her out. She stopped. "Let them out." I looked at her, then to the two remaining warriors. "Please." I have already committed treason. It wouldnt make much difference if I freed one enemy or three. I unlocked the cells and began to lead them out. I knew the side door was less likely to attract attention.
I was right. The four of us slipped away to the wall unnoticed. I knew of a small door used to bring in supplies. It would not be guarded in a siege this big. Fortunately I was right again. Before I could open the door, Aronia grabbed my arm. "Bonna awah to." she said to the other men. One slowly opened the door just enough to look through.
"Shanna." he said.
"Its safe." Aronia said. She took my hand and followed the two warriors out the door. The tree line was only ten feet away. We should be safe once we clear that. We ran for the woods. I heard a shot fired from somewhere off to our left. Then suddenly, five English troops were behind us. I heard there shouts as they came closer. I could feel that they were raising their muskets. My heart went into my throat. As shots rang out, I held my breath. I realized that the shots werent from the English, but from the tree line we were running towards. I turn around and see all five dead. Several Huron appeared out of the woods. Two began to help the other wounded; the others covered our backs as we ran into the trees.
Continued - Part 2 (Conclusion)
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