Green Cabin part 69

Part Two

Weeks turned into months. Stanton was, taken by a healer with one of the moving disks once a week to visit his daughter. He felt awed by what he and Margaret created and pleased to discover that she looked almost exactly like her mother.

He hadn’t thought of a name for her was tempted to call her Margaret, but he didn’t believe the child’s mother would want the girl to have the same name.

The gristmill was close to completed. He had been delighted when someone or more than one would appear each day to assist.

Finally the day came when he was ready to finish the sluiceway, which would carry flowing river water to the top of the wheel. Once there the water would fill the wooden cups spaced evenly around the wheel. The weight of the water would get the wheel spinning and keep it spinning until the board that acted to shut off the flow of water was slid down the slots he’d rebuilt to guide it.

Stanton had made the announcement the previous day and happily watched everyone from the druid village show up to watch the event. As he walked to open the sluiceway, he saw two healers approaching. They carried his daughter, who was actually old enough now to walk. They were, accompanied by a woman wearing armor, and carrying a sword, quiver filed with arrows and a sliver bow.

With a nod from Galyna Stanton opened the sluiceway. At first little happened then the river water filled it and the great waterwheel began to spin.

A loud cheer lifted through the valley. Stanton knew he was finished and would leave later that day, but at the moment he felt personally complete and reengaged with life.

His daughter walked to where he stood. She was not yet a year old, but already moving as if she’d celebrated her first birthday. Her short curly hair was blonde like Margaret’s and she had the same blue eyes.

Who will you become? He thought. On this world is the happiness I once knew even possible? All we, you mother and I experienced was laced with violence and human evil. I need you where I can protect you from all of that and give you the chance to find your own happiness.

His child was accompanied by the warrior. The warrior did not wear a helmet, had silver-blonde hair, pale gray eyes, a slightly large nose over a mouth that showed signs of frequent smiles. At the corners of her eyes were the beginnings of crow’s feet. Her hands and forearms looked strong and had the scars of a person not afraid to fight anyone. Above the elbows and from the neck down to her hips her armor shielded her. Below hip level she wore chainmail that was met by heavy leather boots.

She stopped and stood directly alongside the girl staring at Stanton’s face as if expecting a reaction from him. Whether that might be positive or negative, he failed to decide.

Instead he held out his hand and said, “Am I to assume you’ve been assigned as my child’s guardian?”

“Among my people,” she looked at those surrounding them, “a child begins life with a personal warrior. You are aware by this time that our world is filled with strife and with that comes danger. I will be with you for as long as the child needs me and I alone will determine when that ends.”

“It is my plan to head into the mountains I saw while riding a boat in the central lake.” Stanton informed her.

“Lake Terminus,” she said.

“That’s what its called?” He asked and when she nodded he added, “The mountains on the far side from where I entered this world is where we need to go.”

The warrior nodded as if Stanton’s presumed destination held no relevance to her assignment. “I have three horses ready. One is small for your daughter with a special saddle designed to keep children from falling. You child has ridden several times and seems to quite enjoy herself.”

Stanton felt a sense of loss then. Loss because he child had grown so much without his full time fathering and loss because his daughter didn’t have a mother to guide her through childhood. But he knew acceptance was needed if he was to succeed in reaching Attrea where he now strongly believed that they would be safe far into the future.

“I have no worldly goods other than what I normally carry in my backpack and what I am wearing. We can leave now.” He watched her nod and turned to Galyna.

“You helped me when I was truly ready to quit life. I have no way to repay what you’ve done.”

She smiled and put her hand on his shoulder. “It has been a joy to work with you. I hope you have a safe journey to your true destination here.”

Stanton hesitated and then nodded, put his hand on the back of hers. A moment later Galyna walked away and was followed by all of the villagers except a few who planned to operate the rebuilt gristmill.

Watching, then trying to assist as the warrior woman helped his daughter on her horse. The child grinned and said, “Like horsey.” Her small hand reached and patted the horse’s neck. The horse looked back at her and brayed gently.

Once Stanton secured his gear, her swung his leg over the horse and settled into the saddle. With the reins in hand, he gave then a shake and followed the other two.

“I think I will name her Minerva,” he spoke aloud without meaning to.

The warrior looked over her should and nodded. “That’s a noble name. It suits her, I believe.”

Minerva looked at him and asked, “I’m Minerva?”

He smiled and told her, “Minerva Wilson.”

“Okay,” Minerva said and then looked where they were headed.

“It would be helpful if I knew your name,” Stanton told the warrior.

She didn’t look back, but said, “Taisie. We do not use surnames. Warriors cannot afford the luxury of intimate individuality.”

“I understand,” he said and then, “On my world we had an ancient Irish princess with the name.”

The warrior did not respond. Instead she sat up a bit straighter, which at first, Stanton thought might’ve been a show of pride, but then didn’t believe that since a warrior class would never be prideful if they wanted to survive.

Instead, he wondered if she’d spotted trouble this soon since leaving Galyna’s village.

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