Goodbye to the DreambyBardsLady©
Thundering over the Tundra on the back of a horse was not my idea of a good time, but my dream was riding me. I had to know and, because of that, I had at least two warriors and a shaman around me as we headed across the barren steppes towards a small village.
The smell hit us first. Not the sound, but the smell. At least THAT was normal. The wind carried the scent of cooking food and freshly baked bread as we approached the village That concentration was broken slightly as a stone from a hoof tore a deep gouge over my left eye, making it bleed profusely.
Blood! Just the thought of it brought back the dream that caused this mad flight from the camp with a Mongol shaman named Jin Mai. I couldn't think. All I could see was Kiefer Sutherland lying in the dirt in a pool of blood. My breathing almost stopped, as the image lay before me in full color. No! I was not going to give in to panic. To follow that path would be insanity. I didn't need to fall apart at this particular moment.
Suddenly, we were in the middle of the village, an honestly normal village. One with barking dogs, neighing horses, milling children, and gossiping neighbors. I looked around in confusion for a moment, glancing this way and that for something that looked off. Frowning, I looked at Jin and said, "You said they were here. My dream said Kiefer was in danger."
The shaman at my side turned her horse in a circle, and then looked back at the warriors behind me. At her silent command, they rode out and around the village while I dismounted and led my horse through the main thoroughfare of this place with no name. We both looked at each other in confusion.
"I don't like it," I murmured as I glanced at one woman as we walked past. She smiled, but it never reached her eyes. Eyes that were filled with such terror that I knew the facade was forced. THAT set up all my defensive alarms.
I nodded to the fearful woman and smiled back, putting all my reassurance in my eyes. "Jin." I called. When she approached, I looked over at the her, "Tell her we have lost a friend somewhere around here and were wondering if he had made it through here."
The shaman gave me a look of curiosity, and then exchanged words with the woman. A fearful look passed over her face as Jin spoke. She shook her head and spouted off some words, clutching a pair of children to her. But I looked at the children looking at me curiously. One of them hand signed to me in the shadow of his mother, pointing in the right direction.
As he pointed, I noticed he was missing a pinky finger. The bandage was fresh as was the hand. A glance at the other hand told me all I needed to know. The boy grinned impishly and winked. I smiled and nodded thanks before turning to Jin. "Leave some of our supplies with this woman. They haven't been through here yet." I gave her a meaningful look.
She nodded and then reached into her saddlebags and handed her some dried meat and goat cheese. Then she said something that made her laugh and took the food inside, herding her children before her. The boy went, dragging his feet and waving.
We mounted and rode out of sight from the village. Jin turned to me and said, "Okay, what happened?"
I told her about the boy. "While you were talking to the mother, the boy pointed at the mountain. He made some other hand signs that I didn't recognize, but the bandage on one hand is fresh. The hand had been recently washed as well. Looks like our medical crew has been through here."
She hummed. We rode in silence until we were out of sight of the village. Casually we turned and headed for the mountain. Our two warriors joined us and chattered away. Jin nodded, then translated. "They say there are tracks up the mountain, many of them. It looks like the crew was taken by the mountain bandits for some odd reason."
I nodded, and then said, "Have them keep watch on the Village. Anyone comes into the village with the intent to harm these people I want them -- detained would be a good word for it. I want them breathing and relatively in good shape. You never know when we need a bargaining chip."
She chuckled and relayed the words. Both of them grinned and seemed to fade into the forest. Jin turned to me, "They promise they'll be still in usable shape if any get caught," she winked. "So, now what?"
I looked up the trail and sighed, "We ride." I shook my head and said, "There goes my photography layout."
A horse appeared out of the brush next to us as Little Father appeared on a shaggy mountain horse, "Not entirely. Looks can be deceiving, Shadow Bear. If you do this right, you will be back in your own camp by tomorrow morning."
Jin looked at him, grinning like a fool. "It has been a long time."
Little Father winked at her. "Yes, it has, hasn't it?"
I looked between the two of them, suddenly feeling the sensual attraction they were oozing at each other. "Okay, you two love birds, I'm riding ahead. When you finish cooing and making eyes at each other, join me and hope that Kiefer isn't hurt or dead." I kicked my horse into a gallop.
I topped the rise and almost got snagged by a rope stretched over the path. As it was, I shifted just in time so that it scraped over the open gash on my forehead, causing it to bleed even worse, before I managed to get loose of it. I hauled on he reigns shortly after that and looked down on the camp in the valley. What I saw, chilled my blood.
Kiefer was in the center of camp on his knees. His arms tied to a branch thrust between his elbows. Standing behind him was a monster of a man, heavily muscled and armed to the teeth. He was taunting and poking at Kiefer with what appeared to be a knife.
Furious, I spurred my horse down the hill at a full gallop. I only had eyes for my lover's tormentor. As I rode over the guards who tried to stop me, I climbed up so I was practically crouched on the saddle. Not a great move, but hey, it gave me the purchase I needed to launch myself at the man responsible for making Kief bleed so much.
My attack took him by surprise as I hit him with a flying tackle. I hit him square in the chest and rode him to the ground, relieving him of his knife in the process. By the time I got to the ground, my knife was on his throat, drawing blood. A lot of good it did me because the rest of the men had their guns pointed at my head and Kiefer's.
Whatever might have happened next was forestalled by a single gunshot from beyond the circle of menace. Everyone looked up to see an ancient Mongol lower his pistol. He growled out something and they all looked shame faced. In heavily accented English he looked at me and said, "Release Ngatu. He has enough to pay for without a woman shedding his blood."
Smiling, I stood up, but kept the knife pointed at the man. "Then he should know better than to torment helpless people." I said, then turned and slashed Kiefer's bonds. "Especially one of my friends."
The old man barked out a command and Ngatu responded in a heated set of words. Both of them stalked towards each other to face each other in a clearing. Inches away, it seemed likely that they'd come to blows instantly. As it was, Ngatu was yelling at the top of his lungs while the old man spoke in soft, stern tones, the kind of tone that made me want to apologize to him even if I didn't do anything.
While they were distracted, I turned my attention to Kiefer. I had to smile. "Can't leave you anywhere, can I?"
He reached a dirty hand up to my forehead. "No, you can't. Though this is the last place I expected us to meet. What are you doing here?"
I kissed his palm. "Actually, I'm photographing snow leopards less than ten miles from here. I -- I had a dream about you being torn to shreds by something really evil and I had to come." I looked away, blushing. "I had to make sure you were all right."
He chuckled. "It's okay. I'm very grateful that you're here." He leaned forward to give me a heated kiss on the lips. It was a brief one, but it left both of us breathless and wanting more.
I shook my head. "So how did you manage to get yourself into this predicament?" I asked when I was sure I had my breathing and my blush factor under control.
He sighed and I reached to rub circulation back into his hands while he talked. "We were given permission to treat the villagers in the town below and film doing it. Problem was, no one told us that these villagers were the family of these outlaw rebels. We had just finished filming when this bunch arrived on the scene and began rousting out the doctors and film crew, herding them all up to here. Unfortunately, I was the only one not involved with any of the medical or filming." He sighed as I managed to rub out a cramp.
"So they trussed you up like a stuck pig and left you in the hands of Ngatu?" I asked.
Kiefer shook his head, "Actually, the Hetman's daughter is very ill. The doctors are working to help get her better again. He's even given permission for the filming of the healing of his daughter. Problem is, Ngatu decided that if his boss's daughter dies, so do I." He grinned. "That and he had been into Ulaan Batar recently and had watched the show 24 during the torture scenes."
I ran a hand over my face. "Right, and they just couldn't resist testing you out in the pain department." I looked over at the two. "I am not sure that Ngatu won't try anything the moment his boss leaves him alone." About that time, the old man hauled off and put a haymaker in Ngatu's jaw. The sound of bone breaking was heard clear across the open area.
We both winced as the big man toppled like a tree. "That's got to hurt." I muttered. About that time Jin Mai and her two warriors arrived in the clearing at a leisurely pace. "Bout damned time." I murmured.
Jin winked at me, then turned to the old man and said something, and he blushed and hurried over to help her down from the saddle. From the amount of touching they were doing in intimate spots as he lifted her down, I suspected there was more than just a passing acquaintance there. My suspicions were confirmed when they looked deeply into each other's eyes and the resulting passionate kiss caused the surrounding warriors to hoot and whistle. That, or call out what I perceived as encouragement.
Kiefer wrapped his arms around me and nuzzled my ear as I watched the two lovers embrace. "I've missed you," he murmured, sending shivers up and down my spine.
I patted his hands. "Me too, love. Me too. But right now, I think we need to make sure we're out of danger. I don't want to ever see you in danger that way again. All I wanted to do was murder the son of a bitch and be damned with the consequences."
His rumbling chuckle vibrated against my back. "Vicious little wench, aren't you?"
Jin and the Hetmen finally broke off their kiss and they started talking quietly. When they were done, Jin and the Hetman came over. "You look like hell," she said
I grinned up at her. "Kiefer Sutherland, meet Jin Mai. Jin Mai, Kiefer." I made the introductions. "He's been telling me what happened."
Jin smiled at Kiefer, then made her own introductions, "Shang tse, this is the renowned Kiefer Sutherland and his woman, Diane Taylor. Kiefer, Diane, this is the leader of these men, Shang Tse."
After the round of shaking hands, I sighed and leaned back. "How is your daughter doing, Shang Tse?"
He tilted his head slightly to one side, "She will live, thanks to the Doctors without Borders. But tell me, how did you know where we were? We are outlaws by Chinese standards and have no where to call home."
Jin looked at him and a teasing note entered her voice. "You think I cannot find my husband even without line of sight? Humph!" she tossed her short hair. "The reason I wasn't here with our daughter is that the Spirits called for me to find the woman and bring her here. I can see now that she is needed, if only to keep the hotheads in line. But there is another problem."
Three sets of eyes, mine included, stared at her. I was the first to break the silence. "Ummm, what problem is that?" I was curious as to what was going on and why the Spirits had to pick on me all the time.
She gave me that look. You know the one, that look that says they know what you're thinking? Yep. That's the one. "You are named Shadow Bear for a reason by Little Father," she chuckled. "Can you not see the signs? Look," she points.
I turned to look at a stand of trees. It took me several minutes to see it. But then it became obvious what was up. The marks on the tree bark. Twice the height of a man. Deep gouges that were all too familiar to me. "Oh shit," I muttered.
They both nodded. "It has caused no problems, yet. But we have had some raids happen on our food supply and a few injuries when it is seen," said the Hetman.
Kiefer said, "What is it, what do you see?"
I looked at Jin before answering Kiefer, "Have any of you actually been in an encounter with it yet? You do know what you're up against?"
She nodded, "We know what it is, we've just never had to deal with something like this before. That big of an animal has never been seen in this area at all."
I turned to look at Kiefer; "Grizzly," was all I said.
He groaned. "Great, just great." he muttered.
I moved away from Kiefer and the group to go through the brush to the tree and examine the tracks and the claw marks. Cautiously, I circled the base of the tree and looked around the bushes. There, in the dust and dry places, I made two discoveries that were going to be major problems for the group. I touched a track then brought my fingers to my nose and sniffed. The odor caused me to wince and sigh.
When I returned, all three of them were looking at me expectantly. "We have a three fold problem." I snuggled up to Kiefer, who wrapped his arms around me. I didn't like what I was going to tell them one bit. But I had no choice. "One: It's a full grown female Grizzly bear. Two: She's got at least one cub. And Three: She's been wounded a while back and apparently she's dying of gangrene."
Jin nodded and sighed, "I was afraid of that." Then she said, "That is why Little Father warned you and the Dream you had. If something isn't done, people will be hurt or killed. You know what happens to an animal in pain."
Closing my mind against the image of Kiefer lying at my feet, dead from massive claw wounds. "I know." I said sadly. "I hate it, but I know what needs to be done." I felt Kiefer's arms tighten around me. I patted his strong hands, then said, "When does she come around most of the time?"
Shang said, "At night."
Jin looked me in the eye. "I'll have everything prepared. Grizzly is your animal, it is only fitting that you show her Mercy."
Shaking my head sadly, I asked, "And her cubs?"
"When the time comes, Little Father will show you the way," Jin said mystically.
I sighed, and then looked up at the sky, letting my instincts take over. "Moonrise." I nodded to myself. "I'll deal with it at moonrise." I looked at Jin and then the surrounding people. "But for the moment, I need some time to prepare." I looked meaningfully at Jin and Shang Tse, letting them both know that I wanted some time alone for Kiefer and myself.
They grinned like children and Shang shouted something in Mongolian. The crowd parted and he pointed. "Take the yurt at the far end of the clearing. Return to us at moonrise." He smiled mischievously. "I'll make sure you are not disturbed."
I blushed and I felt the vibrations against my back as Kiefer laughed outright. Within moments, we two were inside the dwelling. No words were needed as the temperature rose several degrees the moment the tent flap closed. It was a tense moment before we literally attacked each other in our feverish need to be with each other.
Lips crashed against each other and clothes became shredded scraps lying on the floor. There was no other thought except the primal need to touch, flesh to flesh. The world outside the yurt faded away as we each tried to crawl through each other. His lips trailed a line of fire down the side of my neck to my rock hard nipples to gently bite and lick them.
I buried my hands in his short hair and threw my head back to savor the pleasure of finally having Kiefer Sutherland back in my arms again. I pulled his head back so that I could see the lust shining in his eyes. It mirrored my own because I drew his face to mine and claimed his heated lips with my own. I ran my hands through the hair on his chest, tracing the line of soft fur down to his very aroused cock.
We both groaned at the same time. He took my hand and led me over to a pallet made of soft furs and quilts. Pushing me down, he began to worship my body, making each kiss, each caress, feel like it was going to last an eternity. Gods, I wanted this to never end. Soon, the sexual tension was more than he could stand and he covered my body with his.
With one swift thrust, he entered me. Nothing else was needed. I was so wet and ready. The force of his entry sent me soaring for the stars. I had to bite his shoulder to keep from screaming my pleasure to the skies. Stars exploded across my vision as my entire body shuddered with pleasure.
His body pounded mine as if this were our very first time together. With each thrust, he lowered his head and bit into my neck, shoulder, and chest. Pleasure became pain, and then it became pleasure once more. His hoarse cry and his stiffening muscles were locked as his orgasm rocketed through his body.
Once was incredible, but we both were locked into a primal dance that even mother nature would have blushed at should she decide to peek in. We were insatiable. Somehow we both managed to explode amongst the stars at least four times together. I lost track of how far out of control I was.
The final explosion of passion was almost too much for the two of us. In the end, he passed out from exhaustion. I, however, barely managed to remain conscious. My whole body was twitching uncontrollably in the aftershocks that followed. I was dripping sweat, semen and, as I looked down at my body, blood. It seems that Kiefer was good with nibbling. I had to smile as I reached for some of my clothes.
There was a knock on the doorframe as I tried to make sense of the shreds that were left of my pants. Looking up, I saw Jin enter and beckon me outside. Once there, she washed me free of fluids and blood with ice-cold mountain water. It was definitely enough to wake me up and give me the energy I needed.
I looked back at Kiefer, still passed out on the pallet inside, and then said, "Good bye," in a soft voice, before turning my attention to the task at hand. For some odd reason, it seemed important. I don't know why. Fighting back tears, I turned and followed Jin Mai further away from the one person I cared about most in this insane world.
Jin Mai handed me some leather pants and a tunic made of dark gray wool. Over my feet were Mongol boots of the softest leather. Wordlessly she waited until I was dressed, then knelt and laid out a set of paints made of natural material. I smiled. It was best to show the spirit face that my totem would recognize, should I fail this night.
White for the under face, then dark brown and black streaks for the fur. I added red highlights to the rest of it. With each addition, I became calmer, more focused. When I was finished, I stood and looked at the shaman lady, then strode forward into the middle of the outlaw crowd.
Every person there, including the villagers from down the mountain was there. Each took one look at me, and then backed up. I moved quietly to the Hetman's yurt and waited silently. Jin came around me to murmur something at the entryway. Two seconds later, a heavy spear and a sword sailed out of the darkness. I caught both and nodded to the entrance before turning and walking into the night.