Welcome back to Tuesday Tales, the weekly blog hop that lets you see work in progress from its members. Each scene posted is limited in size and based on a specific word or picture prompt. This week, our word is RESTLESS. I’m continuing with my historical fiction, The Price of Courage. Enjoy.
Stopping, Lucien removed his pack, dropping it at his feet. He pulled out his arquebus as well as his deer bladder filled with water, pretending to drink. Yves followed suit. Okwaho grabbed the sled of supplies and hunkered down behind it against the large bushes on the left side of the trail.
As the shadows grew larger, Lucien’s gut tightened. From here, he couldn’t tell if those approaching were friend or foe. Had they unwittingly trespassed onto someone’s territory? While most trappers were satisfied with an apology, others could be ruthless. The men who’d kidnapped Marianne and her children, killing her brother in the process, were proof of that.
“I don’t like this,” Yves said. “From here, they’re dressed like coureurs de bois, but they move awkwardly, as if it’s their first time on snowshoes.”
Lucien nodded. “Okwaho, move farther into the brush. If anything happens, you’ll have a better chance to protect us if they don’t see you.”
“And, mon ami,” Yves added. “Don’t miss. I promised Catiche that I would come back from this trip with enough money to buy a farm. I don’t want to disappoint her.”
“Michaud has no reason to fear. Okwaho never misses.”
Restless, his eyes focused on the men approaching, Lucien chuckled. If any other man made such a claim, he would be lying, but the Mohawk sharpshooter was right.
As the men neared, Lucien counted five of them and noted the sleigh full of cured pelts they dragged behind them. He raised his hand in salute, his primed weapon—he always kept it ready—leaning against his leg within easy reach.
The man leading the party raised his hand in response. If they were ready to fight, Lucien saw no sign of it, but didn’t relax.
“Bonjour,” Lucien said, his guard firmly in place. “If we’ve wondered into your trapping territory, we meant no harm. We’re on our way to spend the winter with Atika and his tribe. I’m Lucien Rioux and this is Yves Michaud. We’re on business for the governor-general, a simple survey.”
The man shook his head, his crude wooden sunshades covering a significant portion of his face. “Méderic Bouchard, Antoine Lanoie, Urgel Marion, Seraphim Ayotte, and Laurian, his brother. We’re on our way to Quebec to sell these furs and wait out the winter.”
Lucien’s forehead creased. The names slipped off the man’s tongue smoothly, too smoothly.
So who are those guys? You’ll have to wait for next week to find out! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.