Excerpt from Seminole Song

     She'd seen those dark gray eyes before. The man who'd called her squaw when she freed the horses was now staring down at her in a way she couldn't understand. A way that made her even more wary. "Get back in line," he ordered. "You want to stay alive, you do as you're told."
     Ignoring the cold fingers that were now cutting off her circulation, she returned the soldier's unrelenting gaze. His short-whiskered face was young, only lightly touched by wind and winter, but his eyes had seen a great deal. Those experiences had made him hard and old before he'd had time to be a youth. The wind captured his long, black hair and lifted it off his forehead. She spotted a jagged scar at the hairline and without being told, knew how he'd gotten it. His hatred of her and her people must be part of his very soul; she would be wise never to forget that.
     "You do not own my heart, white man," she told him in his own tongue, the lessons of the one settler she'd befriended serving her well. "Nor my body."
     "You think you can hold off the United States Army? If you do, you're a fool."
     "You are the one who does not understand." In her mind she saw Eagle. Even now he might be flying high overhead, hidden by morning clouds and mist, protecting her. "There are forces—"
     The soldier jerked her arm in an attempt to herd her back to the other women. She glanced toward where the warriors had gone. As soon as they could, they would return and punish the man who wouldn't let go of her. The man who'd nearly been scalped once and carried that experience deep within him.
     When she looked at her captor again, she saw that his attention was no longer on her but on several of the soldiers. As she watched, they picked up some branches that had been left near last night's council fire and plunged the ends into the smoldering coals until the branches burst into flames.
     "What are you doing?" the man holding Luash demanded of Wiggling Ears in a voice so deep that his entire body seemed to rumble with it.
     "Giving the squaws a choice. Either they tell me where Captain Jack is or their village goes up in flames."
     "He is not here!" Luash struggled to keep her voice under control. "Do you not understand? You cannot—"
     "Don't tell me what I can and can't do. I'm not going back empty-handed. You got that?"
     "He is not here!"
     "I don't believe you, squaw."
     Why was she arguing with a man who would attack a sleeping village? Although Wiggling Ears continued to glare at her, she simply glared back, silent. Finally he cursed and yelled an order at one of the men who held a burning brand. The man started toward the nearest wickiup.
     "No!" All the women shrieked as one. "No!"
     "Get 'em out of here!" Wiggling Ears ordered. "They're going to march until their feet fall off if that's what it takes to get them back to the reservation. And when their men come looking for them, we'll disarm the bunch of them: Maybe then they'll understand the army means business."
     "No!" Frantic, Luash struggled free and spun away from the man with eyes like a winter hawk. But she was too late. The wickiup burst into flames, dried brush and willow boughs easily catching fire. "No!"
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