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30 September 2011 @ 09:52 pm
The way of the warrior Chp 7, (8/14), R, Sam & Dean Winchester.  
The Way of the warrior, chapter 7.

“Is this a private party or can anyone join in?” Dean’s quiet words appeared to shock Amber back to the real world. “What the hell are you doing here? You need to get out of here right now, Mr Coverdale. This doesn’t concern you or the Gaming Committee.” Amber spoke harshly, and she sneered when mentioning the Gaming Committee.

Dean hefted the bag on his shoulder; its weight was beginning to put strain on his ribs. He eased it off his shoulder and put it down on the ground, sighing in relief as the weight lifted. He still had his hand gun tucked in the back of his jeans. Its bullets might not slow Great Bear down, but at least he wasn’t completely naked out here. He saw Sam moving out the corner of his eye. His little brother moved so he was just behind him and to his left, leaving his right side clear, in case he needed to reach for his weapon.

“Now, Amber, that’s not a very friendly attitude, considering that this looks like a fun way to spend an evening. You know, with friends and the spirits of your ancestors. Of course, the party could become livelier, since someone here’s been summoning them from their well-earned rest. And you never know, they might want to join in the fun.” Dean watched with satisfaction as both Amber and Daryl looked shocked at his words.

Dean walked a little closer to Amber and kicked at the bag by her feet, “Now I’m not normally a gambling man. But in the spirit of being near a casino, I wonder what the odds would be on yours and Daryl’s bags containing a drum, some herbs, and a few bowls. And further, what are the odds on you two being here to perform the same ritual?” Dean took his eyes off Amber, and looked over at Daryl and the bag by his feet.

Dean walked back to where he started from, “What? Don’t you want to take that bet, Daryl? Good move. Now the smart money is on Amber being the one who summoned the ghosts. Just ask Sam. That boy has the brain the size of a planet, and he swears by all his logic and lawyerly education, that Amber and her merry band of protesters are using the ghosts of the ancestors to put a spanner in Daryl’s works.

But I’ve never been one to bet with the house. I tend to go with my gut, and my gut is telling me that Daryl decided to add a little supernatural twist to room service. How am I doing so far, guys? I’d love to have your input into my ideas.” Dean stopped speaking, watching the two of them closely to see what their reaction would be to his accusation. Amber seemed stunned by what he was saying. Daryl, on the other hand, had the same look of disquiet on his face that Dean had seen earlier at the site.

Sam was viewing the unfolding drama with interest, as he watched their reactions. It seemed that Dean’s gut was beating his logical arguments concerning Amber, hands down so far, and he was happy about it. Amber’s shock seemed genuine, and Daryl was looking increasingly guilty; he was enjoying watching Dean at work. He tended to forget at times just how perceptive Dean could be.

Now Dean was prowling back and forth again. He knew the argument between Amber and Daryl had something to do with them both being there. “Now, as I was saying about your bags, I think you’re both here to perform an appeasement ritual, just to help send Great Bear and his guys back to sleep. But I wonder just how happy they will be when they see the person who came into the canyon and desecrated their graves. As a matter of interest, just how many of those medicine bags with bones from the warriors are concealed inside the hotel walls?” Dean waited patiently; he knew that if he was right then Amber would react to what he’d said about the graves being desecrated.

Dean didn’t have to wait long. Amber lunged forwards and grabbed Daryl by the jacket, “You stupid goddamn moron! What the fuck did you think you were playing at! This is sacred ground; the canyon is left in peace. Only our shamans enter to perform rituals of appeasement and thanksgiving to those who sacrificed their lives, and you go digging around. Jesus, Daryl, I knew you were stupid and that damn casino means everything to you but this.....” Amber’s voice faded away as she tried to take in what was happening.

Dean looked over his shoulder and winked at Sam. At least the mystery of who was summoning the ghosts had finally been solved. They could get to the bottom of why later. That was after they’d gotten everyone clear, and performed the ritual themselves.

Sam had been looking around the clearing while Dean had been talking, and so far everything was quiet. Amber’s three friends and by the looks of it, girlfriends, were stood, huddled together. They’d looked terrified when Dean had mentioned just how angry the ghosts would be at being disturbed. Sam shook his head in disbelief. Who the hell brings their girlfriends to an appeasement ritual?

Daryl had managed to pull himself together now; he grabbed hold of Amber’s wrists and pulled her free of his jacket. “You don’t understand, Amber! I did it for the tribe! We needed an edge to make the casino successful. We have to stand out. Just think of all the good the money will do for the town.” Daryl pleaded with her to understand why he’d summoned the ghosts to come to their aid.

Sam felt a shiver run down his spine and his ‘spidey sense’ as Dean called it, kicked in. He could see nothing, but he felt a change in the air, a metallic tang of electricity on his tongue as if a storm was coming. He reached out and caught hold of Dean’s sleeve to get his attention.

Dean, who’d been enjoying the entertainment turned to look at his brother and saw the expression of worry on his face. Without hesitation Dean knelt by his bag, unzipped it, and threw Sam his shotgun. He got his own gun and stood up. The sound of Dean moving broke the spell that held Daryl and Amber in thrall. She looked at them incredulously. “What good will those do? Typical! The first thing guys do is reach for a gun. You’re facing the spirits of powerful warriors. What are you gonna do? Fill ‘em full of lead?” Amber shook her head in vexation.

Dean moved closer to her, “No, I’m going to fill them full of rock salt. It really puts a kink in a ghost’s day. Now you, Daryl, and your friends are getting out of here now. Then me an’ Sammy will deal with this. Hopefully Great Bear won’t be too pissed at us, and he’ll let us complete the ritual. Now go, Amber. Sammy, get your ass in gear and start drumming.” Dean was looking around the darkened desert to see if he could catch the flickering that heralded a ghost’s appearance.

“Dean, I thought we agreed you were doing the ritual, and I was watching your back.” Sam said through gritted teeth, as Dean was attempting to get everyone moving.

“Change of plans, Sam. Now get your ass down on that blanket and drum your damn heart out...Listen, Amber, as much as I enjoy your company, you really need to leave right the hell now.” Dean’s tone had turned deadly serious. Amber’s friends turned to leave then Daryl picked up his bag and turned to follow them.

Amber just stood her ground, “You don’t know what you’re dealing with here. Just look at you both. Who do you think you are....the Ghostbusters? These are my people and I’ll be the one who deals with them.” She stood with a determined look on her face. Dean rolled his eyes and looked at Sam.

Sam nodded and started to get ready for the ritual. He could be stubborn but this was not the time to dig his heels in. He knew that the sooner the ritual was started, the better chance they had of stopping the ghosts. Sam dropped to his knees, opened his bag and began to empty out the contents.

Amber watched in surprise as Sam pulled out the right ingredients, and set up the bowls with the offerings. She turned to Dean who just stepped closer and spoke to her. “Yeah, that’s us, the Ghostbusters. Unfortunately we had to leave our nuclear accelerators at home, and we’re down to shotguns. Now we may not be shaman, but this is what we do, Amber. We’re hunters, only we don’t hunt cute little furry critters. The critters we go after tend to be un-dead and usually have much bigger teeth and claws. We heard about your little ghost problem and decided to come and take a look. Now unless you want me to sling you over my shoulder, and carry you to your damn car, you need to get out of here. You saw what happened on the construction site today, you could get hurt. I’m gonna have enough to worry about watching Sam’s back without you and your friends being here.” Dean was praying that Amber would get the message, and get out of there. No way was he carrying her back to the car, despite what he’d said. Perhaps if he asked Daryl, he would do that for him.

Daryl stepped closer to her, “Come on, Amber, he’s right. We need to get out of here and let them get on with it.” He sounded nervous as he spoke, glancing around as if he was expecting Great Bear to suddenly appear.

Amber turned and looked at Daryl with disgust. “You started all of this, Daryl, and now you’re just gonna run and leave these two to face Great Bear and his men? You shame your ancestor, Daryl. You shouldn’t even share his name in any form.” Amber glared at him angrily.

Dean had been walking away when he heard that; he spun around and ran back, “What do you mean by that, Amber? Is there something we don’t know?” Dean was starting to feel as if they should all get out of there as this was rapidly turning into a disaster.

“Oh, nothing too important, just that Daryl is a direct descendant of Great Bear. He is the Great, great grandson of the chief. The name changed over time, and that’s why I’m gonna kill Daryl, first chance I get, for being so damn stupid.” Amber looked at Dean, noticing he seemed to be trying his hardest not to point his shotgun at Daryl.

Sam had just been getting ready to begin the chanting when he heard that. Suddenly he leapt to his feet and ran over to them. “Sammy, what the fuck? What about the ritual?” Dean yelled at his brother. Sam grabbed Daryl by the arms and spun him around to face him.

“Daryl, when you summoned the ghosts, please tell me you didn’t end the ritual with your blood....?” Sam’s eyes were filled with fear at the prospect, and he heard Amber’s sharp intake of breath.

“I take it that’s a bad thing, and why do I think I know what the answers gonna be?” Sam heard Dean’s soft words, and the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach grew.

Daryl licked his lips, went to speak, but his voice failed him. Instead he nodded and lowered his eyes to the ground. Sam let go of him and dragged his fingers through his hair; he turned to Dean, “We’ve got to get out of here now! The blood binds Daryl and the ghosts together. This appeasement ritual won’t work, Dean. We’re gonna need something much more powerful.” There was an urgent note to his voice.

Dean heard the sound of his voice and the look on Sam’s face and knew they were in trouble. Then he felt the air around them thicken and charge with electricity like a storm was coming. Dean knew what that storm was. There was no time to be nice so he issued an order. “Go! Get Daryl away from here now! Sammy, we’re gonna cover them, so they get clear. Don’t just stand there, Amber, RUN!” Dean roared the words and raised his shotgun, ready.

Amber took hold of Daryl’s arm and started to run. They had only gone a few steps when she saw figures appearing. Her heart began to race, her friends were surrounded and so were they. She turned in a slow circle. More warriors appeared, and she gripped Daryl’s hand tightly.

She looked over to where Sam and Dean were standing side by side with their shotguns raised, ready to fight and protect them. “Dean, Sam, I’m sorry but I don’t think we’re going to make it.” Her voice shook with fear.

Sam turned around and saw what was happening behind them. He slowly lowered his shotgun, placing his hand on Dean’s arm. Dean had been preparing to go out fighting; he’d calculated how long they could hold the ghosts off. He knew they could get Amber clear, and hopefully she’d be able to deal with Daryl’s stupidity, then he heard Amber call out. Dean felt a swell of defiance. No way was he letting any of these civilians get hurt on his watch. Then Great Bear had appeared and he started to squeeze the trigger to take him out. Just as he did that, Sam had touched his arm. Dean didn’t need to turn his head to realize what had happened. He weighed his options. He could shoot Great Bear and get everyone killed, or he could lower his gun and do his damnedest to keep them all safe. Dean straightened his back, ignoring the pain in his side and dropped his gun. Sam did the same and both men raised their hands.

Amber, Daryl and the others were brought back to stand by them. Dean looked around; there had to be over fifty warriors standing in the desert with them. Dean squared his shoulders and lifted his eyes to meet Great Bear’s. Again the hunter and the ghost looked at one another. Dean refused to back down to the chief. He knew the warrior had issued a challenge and, if he backed down now, then they were all screwed. Dean smirked at the ghost, “I take it you didn’t like the snacks we brought to the party. How about we go back to town and get something else?” His tone was cocky and he heard Sam groan softly, and Amber just gasped.

One of the warriors stepped forward, and the next thing Dean knew was there was the butt of a rifle being smashed into the right side of his ribs. “Son of a bitch!” Dean bent over, winded; Sam helped him up, looking worried. Dean just grinned at him, “Look on the bright side, Sammy. At least it wasn’t the left side.” He gave his brother a slightly pained grin.

Sam just rolled his eyes and restrained himself from strangling Dean. Amber stepped forward and addressed the ghosts in Cherokee. Great Bear raised his hand, forcing Amber to stop talking. He motioned to the bags on the floor, and Sam moved slowly forward, loaded the contents back inside and picked up the bags.

Great Bear spoke and Amber translated, “We’re to follow them. They’re taking us inside the canyon.” She started to walk forward and she spoke to Dean, “Do me a favour. Cut out some of the jokes, that was just a warning.” Her warning made Dean smile and wink at her, and Amber couldn’t help but smile back, shaking her head.

They were moved in single file as they were being escorted. Sam noticed the ghosts were becoming even more solid in appearance as they neared the mouth of the canyon. Dean leaned closer to Sam and whispered, “Dude, why do I get the feeling we ain’t in Kansas anymore?” Sam knew what Dean meant - with every step the ghosts had become denser. Now as they were led inside the canyon, they were as solid as himself and Dean.

Sam knew this was bad news; this place was sacred ground to the people of the tribes. Blood had been shed here, the very ground had been soaked with it. Sam knew that while they were inside the canyon they might as well be back when Great Bear and his men were still alive. As Dean said, they weren’t in Kansas anymore. They were on the Trail of Tears and these ghosts had every right to be angry with them.

They were herded towards the centre of the canyon then were moved away from the narrowed entrance and waited as Great Bear walked past them with his warriors. Dean glanced round the clearing, he was impressed...a little worried but impressed. It was as if Great Bear and his men were still fighting Captain Stoneman. There were small camp fires dotted everywhere with groups of people sat around them. There were men and women and Dean remembered Sam telling him that some of the women had gone with the warriors. Then Dean was startled by a sound - the soft whinny of a horse. He looked at Sam, seeing his brother react in shock to the sound, as he realized the mounts of the warriors were stood, waiting patiently for their riders.

Dean looked at Sam, “What the fuck, dude? How the hell are they doing this? Crap, Sam! We are so screwed. I don’t know how we’re gonna get everybody out of here.” Dean sounded worried, unable to see a way out.

Sam just nodded in agreement, as he kept looking round the canyon, taking in the sights and sounds. Then he turned his attention to the others with them. He could see the mounting panic and fear in their eyes, and he couldn’t blame them. The only calm person was Amber; Sam motioned to her to come closer.

Amber walked over to them, her face serious. She seemed subdued, and Sam reached out, pulling her closer. “Amber, this is well above my pay grade here, but I’ve never seen ghosts like this. It’s as if we’ve stepped back in time. What the hell is going on here?”” Sam’s urgent words brought Dean to stand with them.

Amber wrapped her arms round herself as if she was cold, but the canyon was warm. The heat from the ghostly fires was keeping the chill at bay, “There’s a reason why we still perform rituals for the ancestors here. It’s to honour a promise made by Great Bear and his men as they went into battle, they made a vow before all the spirits that protect us. They would protect this place and the people here, no matter what - that if they were ever needed again they would come if they were called. I’d say Daryl has managed to invoke that promise.” Amber told the brothers this news softly, and Sam felt the world tilt beneath his feet. God, this was getting worse and worse.

Dean drew in a shaky breath. We’re talking the Native American version of King Arthur and his knights here, right?” Sam looked puzzled, and Dean carried on. “When Arthur was mortally injured in his last battle, he was carried off to Avalon. He promised that one day he and his knights would return if ever England was in grave danger. Instead of the once and future King we’ve got the once and future War Chief! And just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse. Hey, you ok there, Sammy?” Dean asked his stunned little brother.

Sam was still reeling from the shock that his brother even knew who King Arthur was, let alone knowing about the promise Arthur had made to his people. If Dean was right in his assessment, then Great Bear was even more powerful than they first thought.

Amber shrugged her shoulders, “I’d say that about sums it up. Now what do we do, guys? Because I’m kinda out of ideas here.” Amber looked at the brothers, hoping they had some answers for her.

Before Sam and Dean could speak, they were moved back to join the rest of the group and a warrior gestured to the floor. Amber immediately sat down and the rest of them followed. Dean and Sam moved closer to Amber, knowing her ability as both a translator and a Shaman would prove invaluable to them.

Over by the largest fire Great Bear and some of his warriors stood. Sam nodded towards the gathering. “What’s going on now, Amber?” They watched as a warrior began to talk heatedly to the group, his arms waving. Occasionally he pointed and glared angrily at them.

Dean bit his lip; he didn’t need a translator to understand the gist of what was happening. It looked as if the ghosts were holding some sort of council and they were the main topic of discussion. After the first warrior finished, he stepped back and another took his place. Dimly he became aware of Amber explaining what was happening to Sam, that it wasn’t just a council but a form of trial. And by the sounds of the angry voices, the prosecution was putting forward a great case. Then he began to focus on what Amber was saying.

“The warriors are putting forward what they think should happen to us. They will vote but ultimately the decision lies with Great Bear, but he has to take into account the will of the tribe.....oh God, no!” Sam startled at Amber’s exclamation, he watched as her face filled with horror. From behind them came several gasps and the small group tensed.

Sam touched Amber’s arm, “What’s happening, Amber? We need to know now.” Sam noticed the fear on Amber’s face.

“They’re talking about killing us because we disturbed them from their rest. They’re saying we should pay for what we’ve done. Hang on. Now this warrior is suggesting that they only need to execute the one who summoned them. Oh god, no! Please, not Daryl.” As Amber spoke her voice filled with distress; they heard a moan of terror from Daryl. Then Sam and Dean heard the sound of scrabbling. Dean knew exactly what Daryl was doing.

“Sammy, we gotta stop him.” Dean’s voice rang out sharply. Sam was already moving to try and stop Daryl from running. But he was just too slow. Daryl sprang to his feet and started to run for the mouth of the canyon. Dean leapt to his feet, “DARYL! For god’s sake, stop.” He shouted desperately after the fleeing man. He spun back around to see the warriors, raising their weapons ready to bring Daryl down.

Dean took a deep breath and put himself in the line of fire, “Amber, tell them not to shoot. Sam, go and get him now.” Dean remained where he was, watching the warriors closely. Sam looked at Dean, worried for his brother, “Sammy, I said go! Just no sudden moves, alright?” Dean’s voice was low and authoritative. Just as Sam started to move a shot rang out, and Daryl fell.

Great Bear shouted something at his warriors, and they lowered their weapons. Dean swallowed hard. “Sam, get over there now and bring Daryl back. Christ, I hope he’s ok.” Dean never took his eyes off the chief, continuing to use his own body to shield Sam, waiting nervously as Sam walked away. If any of the warriors tried to fire, then he would do his best to get in the way to help Sam.

As Sam moved towards Daryl, he felt a prickling sensation run down his spine, knowing there were numerous guns pointing at him, as he fought down the urge to run. Dean was right; he had to take it easy. He walked as quickly as he dared. Finally he arrived by Daryl, kneeling down to check the man over. Sam let out the breath he’d been holding. Daryl was still alive; the bullet had hit his arm. The force of the shot had knocked Daryl off his feet. “Come on, Daryl, I need to get you back.” Sam reached out to help the man to his feet.

Daryl tried to get away, but Sam took hold of his uninjured arm, “Let me go, damnit! They’re gonna kill me. Please, Sam, let me get out of here.” Daryl was pleading with the younger man for mercy. Sam got to his feet and pulled Daryl up with him.

He turned them around and wrapped his arm around Daryl’s waist, “Daryl, they’ve got guns pointed at my brother. If they shoot him, I’ll kill you. Now come on, I’m sure we’ll figure something out.” Sam helped the struggling man back to where the others waited, ensuring he didn’t try to escape again.

When they reached the group, Dean relaxed, relieved that Sam had made it in one piece. “Amber, get me my bag please. There’s a blanket inside and a first-aid kit. I need to look at Daryl’s arm.” Sam said as he held Daryl upright. Amber did as she was told. Finally Dean turned away from his staring match with Great Bear.

Dean stood beside Daryl and took the man’s weight while Sam put the blanket on the ground. Sam stood and helped him lower Daryl to the floor with his back against the canyon wall. Dean slowly stripped off Daryl’s jacket, “You ok, Sammy? And how come you’ve got the first aid kit with you? Talk about being prepared, dude.” Dean pulled a knife from his boot, and began to cut the sleeve of Daryl’s shirt.

Sam opened the kit, and pulled out some bandages. He looked over at his brother, smiled and said, “Dude, I’m hunting with you, remember? It always pays to have the kit with me. Now Daryl, stay still and let us take care of this.” As Sam spoke he cleaned the wound with an antiseptic wipe, having a moment of petty satisfaction when Daryl whimpered in pain. He bandaged Daryl’s arm then waited as Dean covered him up with his jacket.

Then he, Dean and Amber sat close together once more. They watched as the council reconvened, Amber listening intently to what was being said. So far things were not looking good for them; every warrior demanded someone pay for them being summoned. Sam watched the ghosts and once again he was stuck by Great Bear’s presence, the man was a natural born leader. He didn’t strike Sam as being bloodthirsty, having cut off some of the more creative suggestions for them. But Sam knew this was a man who had made hard, almost impossible decisions in life. Now he would have to decide their fate, and what it would mean for the tribe he vowed to protect.

The council continued but the words were softer, and Amber could no longer hear what was being said. She looked at the two men watching proceedings closely; she couldn’t help but like them. She puzzled over what Dean had meant by them hunting; now she could no longer hear what was happening in the council meeting she decided to ask them. “Well, come on, then, tell me all about hunting, and why our little problem was so interesting.” Amber looked from Sam to Dean, waiting for an answer.

Sam shrugged his shoulders, “What can I tell you that Dean’s little intro didn’t? We hunt ghosts and monsters, Amber. We try to stop them from hurting people, it’s the family business. We saw the story about what was happening at the Casino, and decided to look into it. At first we thought you and your friends were just dressing up to scare the construction crews, but when we got here we could tell this was a haunting. By the way, why did you bring your friends here tonight to perform the appeasement ritual? I’m curious.” Sam was using his own gut instincts, and when Amber looked down he knew his gut had been right.

“Ok, Sam, you got me. After what happened on site I remembered how guilty the three musketeers over there looked, and I asked them why. They were so shook up after the ghosts appeared they admitted they had a guy on the inside, and he let the brake off. I brought them with me to apologize to Great Bear and his men for dishonouring them like that. Can I ask you guys a question?” Amber looked at Dean as she spoke.

“Go for it, Amber, but if you want my number, can you wait until Sammy has to go behind a rock? He hates it when I get all the attention.” Dean grinned as Sam rolled his eyes.

Amber laughed, “Right. I‘ll bear that in mind, handsome. I want to know your real names. I’d like to know who I’m gonna die with. I’ve got to say the whole Gaming Commission cover was good, though. But you really shouldn’t have used the names ‘Coverdale’ and ‘Lord’.” She smiled warmly at the brothers.

Dean smiled back at Amber. Damn, he liked this woman. “Hey, nobody’s dying here tonight if me an’ Sammy’s got anything to do with it. Well, I might as well handle the introductions. I’m Dean Winchester and the highly impressive specimen of brooding emo angst is my brother, Sam. And what was so wrong with the names we used?” Dean’s curiosity had been piqued, and he gleefully ignored Sam’s grumbling.

Amber’s smile grew brighter, “Oh, nothing really, guys. But put it like this. I’ve a real soft spot for English rock singers who do a mean blues riff. Plus, I know all the Gaming Commission guys; I’ve annoyed enough of them to know all their names by now. Then there was the unusual interest in the ghosts. Most of them only wanted to know how we were gonna enforce the gambling regulations.” Amber laughed softly as she spoke.

Dean threw back his head and laughed. He caught Sam’s puzzled look, “It’s ok, Sam. I was wondering where the ‘singer with the band’ comment Eddie made came from. So you like ‘Whitesnake’? My personal favourite is ‘Slide it in’.” Dean’s voice dropped lower as he spoke, a lascivious smirk playing on his lips.

Sam sighed. Trust Dean to be flirting at a time like this. Then he noticed how the tension drained from Amber as Dean talked playfully to her. As she relaxed so did her friends. Dean had a way of putting people at their ease. He may not be touchy feely, but when he wanted to, Dean was very good at diffusing tension, almost as much as he was an expert in causing it.

“Personally, I prefer ‘Ain’t No Love in the City’. But whatever gets you through. Dean, I have to ask. What do you do to the ghosts you hunt?” Amber tilted her head to one side.

Dean licked his lips, “Normally we’d salt and burn the bones, send the ghosts onto their rest. But in this case we were going to try for the appeasement ritual. Though at the moment I’m seriously considering napalm and blitzing the canyon.” Dean shrugged as Amber stiffened at those words, and Sam let his head fall forward, groaning in despair.

Dean just continued as if nothing had happened, “But to be honest, I get where Great Bear is coming from. He and his men gave everything to protect those they loved. They even promised to return and carry on with that protection. Now Daryl has woken them up to play starring roles in his haunted hotel, they deserve better than that. But even though I feel for the guy, we still have to deal with them. They’ve hurt people, Amber, and no matter how much sympathy I got for them, we have to stop them.” Dean’s words were spoken gently, with a great deal of sympathy for the plight of the warriors.

Sam lifted his head, and looked at Dean; he understood what his brother was saying. Great Bear and Dean were kindred spirits; Dean understood what drove the chief and his men. And, like Great Bear, he knew that sometimes no matter how much you respected your enemy, they still had to be defeated. Sam then looked over to Amber and saw how much the words had affected her. She reached over and touched Dean’s arm.

“I understand what you’re saying, Dean, but how can we convince them that we pose no threat and more importantly, that Daryl’s real sorry for what he’s done?” Amber wondered how Dean and Sam proposed to get them out of this mess.

“This council thing, do you think you’ll be allowed to speak and defend us?” Dean asked, hoping she would say yes.

Amber looked past Dean and gave a nervous smile, “It looks like we’re about to find out.” She motioned with her eyes and Dean looked back. One of the warriors approached them. He was waiting for the ghost to speak to them in Cherokee, surprising him when the ghost addressed them in English.

“Great Bear wishes for one of you to come, and put your case to us. Who wishes to speak for you?” The ghost’s face was impassive. Amber stood up slowly. She was nervous, and then she saw Dean move. He looked up at her, his expressive eyes telling her exactly what he needed her to do.

“I will come and speak for us, but I wish to bring a friend with me to meet with Great Bear.” Amber stood straight. She was one of the tribe and a shaman, and as such should be shown the respect her position merited. The ghost’s eyes went to the medicine pouch that hung around her neck. The ghost nodded and Amber gestured for Dean to stand up.

Sam leaned forward and hissed at his brother, “Dean, what the hell do you think you’re doing, man?” Sam’s sense of unease grew; he wished Amber was taking him. Great Bear’s interest in his brother was playing on his mind, and he wondered just what the chief had planned for him. When Amber had requested a friend to come and then she’d gestured to Dean, there had been a glimmer of a smile on the ghost’s face. Now his brother was walking to meet a powerful warrior, and he knew just what Dean was capable of, if it meant protecting everyone of their group. Sam felt a wave of helplessness wash over him as Dean and Amber walked away.

Amber moved close to Dean, “What do I do?” She asked, unsure of why Dean wanted to go with her. Dean watched Great Bear as they grew closer; something told him the chief had struck some kind of deal with his warriors concerning their fate. He was going with Amber to do his best to keep them all in one piece.

Dean gave a gentle smile, “Just answer whatever questions they ask you, and answer from the heart, Amber. By the way, I need to know something.” Dean looked at her as he spoke, his green eyes sympathetic to the young woman’s plight.

Amber glanced over at Dean; she gave a small smile, “Are you sure you haven’t been talking to Albert? Because that’s just the kind of thing he’d say. And what do you want to know?” They were getting closer and she was becoming more nervous.

“I think you knew that the ghosts on the site were real. Why did you do nothing? Were you hoping that Daryl would be scared off? Or did you know what he was up to and that Great Beat would teach him a lesson?” Dean needed to know that Amber was completely innocent in this, because he knew that Great Bear would see through any deception on their part right away.

Amber paused and then lowered her head, “You’re right. I realized pretty quickly what was happening on site. But Dean, I promise you, I just thought that the construction had disturbed some of the warriors that had fallen in the desert. Not all of Great Bear’s men died in the canyon, I admit I was enjoying the fact that Daryl was haunted by some of our ancestors. But I swear I was coming here tonight to lay their spirits to rest, and as I said, apologize for my friends’ behaviour. I had the shock of my life when we found Daryl was here. I never knew just what the project meant to him. I didn’t think he’d go this far. I don’t think he fully understood what he was unleashing when he called Great Bear and his men from their rest.” Amber stopped speaking, as they had arrived in front of the fire.

Dean put out his hand and gently squeezed Amber’s hand, looking over the fire at the spirit of Great Bear. The chief glanced over, his face expressionless, and again Dean felt as if he was being judged by the warrior. He listened as Amber began to speak but he couldn’t understand her words. They were filled with passion, her voice musical and lilting as the Cherokee spilled from her lips.

Dean risked looking away from the Chief, glancing at the warriors gathered around the fire. Every face was as emotionless as the next, and again Dean’s gut told him that the decision had already been made. Amber may as well have been reciting ‘Whitesnake’ lyrics for all the effect she was having. Hell, at least that would be entertaining, he mused.

Finally Amber stopped speaking and she looked around at the warriors; she too felt a sense of futility. She turned to look at Dean. He had a half-smile on his face, and he appeared to be the most relaxed she’d seen him. It felt as if he’d made peace with whatever was going to happen here, and now he was just waiting for the inevitable.

Great Bear began to speak, and Amber turned her full attention to him. As the Chief spoke Dean felt Amber tense beside him. He was waiting patiently for her to turn and translate the words. Then Amber began to speak. This time it sounded as if she was pleading with the ghost; she was becoming more and more distraught. Finally Dean couldn’t take it any longer. He took hold of her shoulders and turned her to face him. “Amber, what’s wrong? What did Great Bear say? Come on, give me something to work with here.” Dean looked at her intently, waiting for Amber to pull herself together.

Amber felt as if she couldn’t breathe. The words of the chief still echoed in her mind, and now Dean wanted to know what he’d said. She quickly looked over to where the rest of them sat. She could see how scared they were, and Daryl looked terrified at the possibility of dying here. She noticed Sam, and for the first time since she’d met them, Sam looked terrified and was looking right at Dean. It was as if he knew his brother was going to do something he wasn’t going to like. Then she looked back at Dean, and instead of seeing fear in his eyes, all she saw was compassion for her. She also saw a fierce determination burning within the moss-green depths.

“Amber, I told you, no one is dying here tonight. Now whatever Great Bear said, I need to know. I promise that no one will hurt you. What do they want from us, Amber?” As he spoke he gently stroked her arms. She calmed a little at that gentle touch and she turned back to face the council of warriors once again.

“The council have talked and they say there is a debt to be paid, and it must be paid in full.” Amber lowered her eyes, unable to face the man beside her.

Dean’s heart began to race. Ok, now they were getting there. He could deal with whatever they wanted. “Ok then, Amber. Well, I’ve got about fifty dollars on me, and if they’ll let me go back to the motel room, I’ve got some more money stashed with my dirty socks. It’s safe there as Sam won’t touch ‘em.” Dean grinned at her, and squeezed her hand again.

Amber looked up at him, “Is everything a joke to you? Do you know what they’re asking for?” Amber was angry that Dean could joke at a time like this.

Dean looked at her, his green eyes suddenly serious, all traces of humour were gone, “Amber, my brother is back there, and so are seven of your friends. You’re suggesting to me there is a possibility this could be done without them killing everyone, then I’m all ears. What will pay the debt, Amber?” Dean had stood up straighter, and for the first time since they’d met Amber saw the hunter....no, the warrior Dean was. Yes, in the desert he’d been ready to take on the ghosts and fight, but now she knew he would do whatever it took to protect them all, and it frightened her.

She took a deep breath and made one more appeal to Great Bear. When the answer came back the same she turned to Dean. Dean watched her struggle with what she’d been told; he stepped closer to her and spoke softly.

“Amber, you have to tell me what will pay the debt. I heard you and Great Bear say the same thing. What does Gi gv mean?” Dean looked into her eyes and saw them fill with tears; he lifted his hand up and brushed at a tear as it fell.

Amber drew in a calming breath, “It means blood, Dean. The debt can only be paid with blood.”

Chapter 8.
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Current Mood: nervousnervous