Tony and I were out of bed early this morning. I have been sleeping so well. I think it is the constant fresh air I am being exposed to. Tony was getting ready to go hunting with the men when Palesa stopped him in his tracks and said that she had a different chore for the both of us today. Tony was a little disappointed but he didn’t argue. I think Palesa is trying to match make. She thinks she is being sneaky but she isn’t. Palesa sent Tony and I grocery shopping today to collect berries, mushrooms, wild onions and hickory nuts. It was our chore for the day and I enjoyed it. Palesa drew a couple of nice pictures to show us what we were looking for. It was a fun adventure if you don’t include the invasion of ants that attacked Tony while he was up one of the trees and the large spider that climbed up my arm while I was picking berries.
You should have seen Tony climb the trees. At first I was thinking we were going to return to the village without the nuts but after a few tries Tony actually made it up into the trees. Palesa told us not to collect the nuts off the ground (she made sure we understood this point) because they were usually rotten and often contain more insects than the nuts still on the trees. The berries were pretty simple to collect and Palesa said as long as we picked only the mushroom she had drawn we wouldn’t pick anything deadly. She suggested we didn’t sample any until we returned to the village just to be safe. It has been a very good day.
Tony and I are taking our time returning to Bear Country. By now a new tribe leader would have been elected. I hope it was Sheriff Pete. All the soldiers that survived the ambush headed back towards Ft Shasta. Their walk was going to be a long one. I wished them luck in their journey and asked them to be safe. I again apologized for the trouble I caused.
Tony and I didn’t travel very far yesterday or today. We stayed in a hunters cabin last night. It was barely livable but it was better than sleeping out in the open on the hard ground. I have had enough sleeping on the ground to last a lifetime. The cabin was near a stream. Tony was playing around trying to catch a fish with his hands and accidentally scooped a fish out. He spent the next hour in the ice cold freezing water trying to catch another one and never came close. The one fish barely gave each of us three mouths full but it was good.
Today we went exploring. I don’t think we covered more than a couple of miles. Tony and I stumbled across a tribe of naturalist called the Sequoia. Relax they were friendly. Their tribe leader offered us a place to stay for the night. Tony’s out bathing in the creek with the men. I plan to go with the women as soon as he gets back.
I couldn’t take another step. I was thirsty and weak from hunger. After a moments rest and drinking practically all of the water in Tony’s canteen I asked about Yates and the other soldiers. Tony looked at me and shook his head from side to side. He said Yates struggled to survive for a couple of days but that he died yesterday. He had been hit by too many darts and couldn’t recover. Most of the other soldiers died from injuries they had received the day of the ambush. I refused to accept what Tony was saying. I started making plans to find Yates and the others. Tony grabbed me by the shoulders and gave me a shake. He said there weren’t any others. I said there had to be others. We were in a convoy of 4 trucks with at least 30 people. We had guns. General Yates would not have gone down without a fight.
I pulled away from Tony. I called him a liar and said a few awful things I now regret. I knew Tony had to be lying. He was jealous I chose Yates over him and I told him so. I stomped off into the woods. I don’t know where I was going but Tony followed. I stopped at the edge of a cliff. For a moment I considered jumping. Tony asked me not to jump. He said he had something important to say to me. If I still wanted to jump after he had finished he would jump with me. Tony said he loved me and that he only let me go with Yates because he wanted me to have a happy and safe life. The morning the convoy left Bear Country Tony realized he had made a mistake in allowing me to leave.
Tony borrowed a horse from Joshua of the Spurs Tribe. He caught up to the convoy shortly after the attack. Yates and several of the severely wounded soldiers had been left for dead. I was nowhere to be found.