By: Judge and Alanna Rodriguez
Thank you for joining us this month as we bring in some of the additional characters for “The Marshal’s Choice”. We hope you enjoy the blurb!
Seeing his mother mounted on her horse out among the herd, Ian frowns, then bellows, “Mithir! There’s been news!”
Molly, Ian’s mother, turns in the saddle and nods to her son, then holds up a finger, indicating that she’ll be right there.
Ian turns and snorts at the bemused expression his father is giving him.
Digory MacKenzie looks at his son and shrugs his shoulders. “Ya know yer Mithir. When she gets som’tin’ in her mine, doncha go tryin’ ta stop’er.”
Ian nods to his father. “Yeah, I know, Da. You might have known her about thirty years or so, but I’ve known her my whole life.”
Digory’s laugh is full-bodied and natural. “True t’hat.” His grin is full of mischief and hope. “Jes wait til she hears tha news we got.”
Ian snorts derisively. As if he didn’t know his own mother’s enthusiasm.
Molly loops the lead rope around the neck of a two year old horse and guides him over to the gate of the corral.
As the middle-aged woman approaches the gate, Ian cocks his head curiously at his mother. “What’s wrong with Rocky?”
Molly shrugs. “Doan know. I saw him fav’rin a leg earlier, so I t’hought ta brin’im in ta see tha doc.”
Digory frowns as he looks at the young horse. “Ach, I canna t’hink t’would be anyt’hin’ more t’han a stone bruise. At least, ‘tis what I hope.”
Ian nods. “We can only hope and pray. By the way, Mithir, we received word from the Cavalry.”
Molly turns her face to her son, her expression one big question mark. “And?”
Ian gives his father a sideways glance, then looks back at his mother. In as innocent a tone as he can manage, asks, “And, what?”
Molly lets loose a long-suffering sigh and gives her husband a look. “Well, since our son has given in ta tha horrible sense ‘o humor he inherit’d from yer side o’ tha family, ya wanna explain tha news we got?”
She turns to her son and, with a wide smile, says, “Doncha go tryin’ ta ‘Mithir, please’ me. I know ya better t’han t’hat, son.” She turns back to her husband, “Well?”
Digory grins at his wife. “Two months an’ t’hey’ll take a hunnerd ‘n fifty. We hefta d’liver t’hem ta tha Oak-la-homa territ’ry ourselfs t’hough.”
Ian can feel his lips quirk to a grin. “I heard they’re going to have another landrun down there. Just a little bit after we’re supposed to bring the horses down. Something about one of the tribes opening more land to settle in.”
Molly looks at her husband and apparently notices the twinkle in his eyes. “I see. So, ‘twould seem yer wandrin’ feet are ‘bout ta get us in trouble gain, are t’hey?”
Ian turns to his father with surprise.
“Ach, m’love. Ya know me so well. ‘Twas plannin on sayin’ somet’hin’ ta ya ‘bout it, when the boy wasna ‘roun’.”
Molly purses her lips and gives her husband a flat look for a moment before shaking her head, then saying simply, “Don’ bot’her. I know tha look.” She turns to Ian. “Ya need ta git yer stuff ready ta move. Looks like we’re movin’ ta tha ‘Nations b’fore too long.”
Ian looks at his father, who nods, then sighs. “I guess this means I need to go into Lincoln and say bye to everyone there, then.”
Molly nods at her son. “Aye. ‘Tis ‘nless ya wanna try ‘n run t’his place by yerself.”
Ian takes a breath to say something, then decides against it and walks away from his grinning parents, muttering to himself.
He walks along the fence-line on his way toward the stables. Out of the corner of his eye, Ian notices his horse, Marie approaching. He smiles at the thoughtfulness of his faithful mount.
His mother may have been joking, but she struck a nerve. As he walks along the fence-line, Ian glances around. This is such flat country, it’s the natural breeding-ground for the multitudes of horses. It’s so flat, so boring, just looking at it is making Ian sick.
There’s no trees, no hills, just mile upon mile of nothing but… mile upon mile.
Several years ago, Ian went with his father to Denver and was astounded to see the Rocky Mountains. Even more than that, though, it was the trees that impressed him the most.
How God could make them so big, so green amazes Ian to this day.
All this grass, all this flatness is just simply boring.
His mother’s offer for him to run the ranch emphasizes the fact that Ian cannot wait to get away from here fast enough.
From the looks his parents were giving him earlier, he expects that they feel the same.
So, why does he feel troubled about going down to the Indian Territory, then?
It’s almost as if he can feel the world, his entire future even, shifting under his feet.
As Ian enters the stables, in one of the side-stalls, Nubian Queen, an Andalusian mare the MacKenzie family just acquired, approaches the gate.
Ian stops for a moment and strokes the mare’s nose. “Hello, and how are you this fine day, my lady?”
The young mare blows hot air against Ian’s face and nickers lightly.
Ian grins. He has the feeling that the mare is looking forward to being a mount on a regular basis. He strokes the pitch-black side of her face and simply says, “Soon, my dear. Soon, I promise.”
At her nicker of acceptance, he moves several stalls down, to where Marie, having entered by the stall’s back door, patiently awaits him. She noses his saddle that is already on the side of the stall.
Quietly, gently, Ian explains his thoughts to Marie while he’s saddling her. Finally, he finishes with asking her, “So, what do you think?”
The mare blows warm air into his face, then lowers her nose to look her rider directly in in the eye and blinks slowly.
She’s saying, you got this. I trust you to make the right choice. A weight lifts from Ian’s chest, his unease is suddenly gone. His lady knows him oh so well.
He puts his forehead against hers. “Thank you, my dear. Shall we ride?”
Her whinny in response is startling approval.
Grinning, Ian mounts his mare and rides on to Lincoln, to let his few friends know the family is going to be selling their ranch, then moving to the Indian Territory toward a completely new future.
As he rides down the road, Ian hears his mother’s voice call out, “Don’ f’get ta brin’ back Doc Andrews fer Rocky!”
Judge Rodriguez and his wife Alanna are currently co-authoring the Legends of the Landrun Series available in e-book, paperback, and soon hardback format. They can be found here.