Excerpt from Wind Warrior

     The other woman, too, had on a long skirt, but in a great many ways she was different. This one's loose white blouse left most of her arms bare and exposed her throat and neck. What he could see of her flesh was dark and smooth. She had nothing on her head except for a black mass of hair pulled off her neck and caught in a knot so thick it made him wonder if her hair reached below her waist. Even from here, he could tell she was young, no longer a child but note yet weighed down by life as his wife was.
     This one seemed possessed of an endless curiosity about her surroundings because she turned her head first in one direction and then the other, taking in the world with the intensity of a young fox. Sometimes she stared down at the ground near her horse's feet; other times she rose in the saddle and studied the horizon. He was too far away to know what was in her eyes, and yet he sensed she was trying to commit the land to memory.
     She would have to do more than that if she intended to live here. She would need deep-running strength to hunt and till the land, to draw water out of springs, to survive the hot summer and heavy rains of spring.
     Without knowing why it should matter to him, he wondered what would happen to her if he took her into the mountains and forced her to stay there through winter storms. Would she cower where he placed her or die of exposure trying to escape? Would she understand what the wolves and coyotes said when they threw their voices into the air, or would she hate and fear sounds that were as familiar to him as his heart's beating?
     What had brought the women here? Would they be followed by more?
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