Night Wolf Ch. 07byLady_Blackhawk©
Ione shook her head at her friend's unreserved nature. It didn't seem to matter that she or Night Wolf were both present while Tessa openly bathed, but she did notice the frown on Black Horse's face. Night Wolf cocked an eyebrow at his friend.
"Your woman grows bold," Night Wolf smirked. "Perhaps some discipline is in need before you formally join with her."
"Perhaps your thinking is correct, my friend. I admire her open nature, but she must learn it is not for all to see," Black Horse conceded and flashed a glare at Tessa. "Hotóhké'e, behave yourself."
She grinned sheepishly before smiling at Ione. "I had better listen to him, don't you think?"
Ione shook her head, "Yes, Tessa, you should. He could beat you and no one would stick up for you because you are white and not Cheyenne. I suppose they could do anything to us that they wanted and no one would say a thing."
"I seriously doubt Night Wolf would do that to you. He loves you too much and I don't think he'd want to hurt you, even if it were for your own good."
"I think he would, if it meant life or death. You told me that they are the bosses here and I know Night Wolf would do what he had to do to make me understand that he is the boss. I'm sure he wouldn't like it, but would do it." Ione replied then shrugged her shoulders. "I think I should go. My lessons are waiting for me."
"Good day, Ione. I'll see you soon," Tessa gave her a warm hug before she dashed ahead of Black Horse.
Ione shook her head, muttering to herself. "That girl will be lucky if he doesn't beat her severely." She turned her focus back to Night Wolf who watched her with a curious expression on his face. She beamed a smile at him and joined him. He cocked his head back in the direction of the village and began to walk. As he strolled along, he resumed her lesson. He picked up various implements he hadn't yet named the words for and made sure she could repeat them with the proper inflection. Ione mentally went over some of the new words in her head and wondered just how she would ever remember all of them.
A woman with dark braids and bright blue eyes sat waiting patiently outside Night Wolf's lodge. A warm smile crossed her face, "Pêhévevóonä'o Mahpetana'ôtse, népévomóhtâhehe?"
Ione flashed a curious look at her, "I don't understand you." Her eyes flicked over the heavily pregnant woman before her. Though her skin was tanned a golden brown, she was obviously not one of the People. Ione wondered how the woman before her came to be here and if she still spoke the English language.
"Nénáasêstse," she motioned to the door of the buffalo hide lodge behind her. "Sky Eyes náheševéhe." She pointed to herself as she stood up and reached out for Ione.
"I am Ione," the red haired female replied.
Sky Eyes gave her a cross look, which was reinforced by one from Night Wolf. She shook her head firmly. "Sky Eyes náheševéhe. Hová'âháne Ione. Mahpetana'ôtse. Falling Water."
Ione frowned at her. "Falling Water náheševéhe," she repeated as best she could. Sky Eyes shook her head and repeated it as slowly as possible, making sure Ione could produce the sound with the proper inflection.
Sky Eyes smiled up at Night Wolf, "My husband is waiting for you. We will be fine here. I can see that she is quite stubborn, but has a strong mind. She will learn quickly."
He inclined his head and gathered a few things from within his lodge before taking leave. Once he was out of sight, Sky Eyes ushered Ione into the lodge and sat her down in front of the fire pit. "I not talk English long time. Am Cheyenne in heart and mind. You learn Cheyenne to survive here. I teach. This last time I talk English to you."
The sound of the stunted English shocked Ione at first. She gaped open-mouthed at the woman before her until she gathered her wits about her. "You're a white woman. How did you come to live here? Are you a captive too?"
"No, I here by choice. I have good husband. Soon have son," Sky Eyes smiled and rubbed her enlarged belly. "No longer white, am one of the People. You be one of People soon, but must learn language and ways. I help. I teach."
"I want to learn. I want to talk to Night Wolf. I want to understand what he says to me," Ione confessed as a soft blush covered her cheeks. Her thoughts wandered to the soft words he often whispered to her when they were alone.
"I teach. You learn. Cheyenne hard, but you young and smart, I have faith." Sky Eyes smiled sincerely and began their lesson. The language lesson was intermixed with a woman's daily duties as well as simple commands, verbs and phrases. Ione picked it up rather quickly. She was eager to learn.
By the time twilight rolled around with Sky Eyes' help, Ione had a full evening meal cooked for Night Wolf. She had learned how to scrape and cure animal hides in the proper way to prepare it for making a dress or another article of clothing. Her day had been full and she had Sky Eyes' promise that the lessons would continue daily until she had a good understanding of the culture.
When Night Wolf returned to the lodge after a day of working ponies then hunting for some of the less fortunate families, he smiled widely at her accomplishment. She greeted him slowly, she said, "Pêhéve'hetóeve, na-méhósené. I have cooked a meal for you. Sit and eat!"
Night Wolf beamed at her effort and did indeed sit down before the fire and accepted the wooden bowl she handed him. He took a tentative bite of the stew, slowly savoring the flavorful spiced broth, chucks of meat, and wild vegetables. He nodded his appreciation of the hearty fare and dug into the meal. When he had eaten his fill, he motioned for her to eat.
Ione watched him while she partook of her stew. He sat restringing a bow and carefully fletching a few arrows with dyed feathers. When she was finished, she cleaned up after them. She knew they could have the remains of the stew for breakfast. Quickly she took the bowls and bone utensils to the river to wash.
When she returned, Night Wolf led her to the center of the village to watch the dancers around the central fire. They sat near his mother and sisters. Soon Sky Eyes and Sun Bear joined them, along with Tessa and Black Horse.
The dancing continued into the night. Occasionally Night Wolf would get up and join in, but mostly sat with Ione, reveling in the look of awe on her beautiful face. He knew he would never get enough of looking at her. His heart swelled with pride that she belonged to him.
And when he led her back to their lodge, he looked forward to the night to come.