As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

WIP - The Talisman - Chapter 5

Chapter 5
Part C

Quinn stirred the fire, getting it going again. He figured it was about three in the morning. The horses squealed alerting him to what had woken him in the first place. He didn't usually wake at this hour unless he had good reason. This spring the job for Leavitt had stolen many nights sleep, what with the wolves running the range. The men had opted to work in pairs this year, all but Quinn. He preferred to work alone to protect his secrets, even if it meant less sleep. Leavitt paid well for these occasional short jobs of gathering his livestock from the rough passes of this ridge. Passes no one knew as well as Quinn.
He checked the horses. The stallion pawed at the ground, testing the tether line. Quinn checked the knots and tightened the line. It would be unwise to try to traverse this country without a horse. Though not wide eyed, the stallion seemed ready to bolt at the slightest altercation. Quinn soothed the animal, running an appreciative hand over his sleek coat. The stallion's head was fine, his eyes speaking of intelligence. Could this stud be stolen property? Maybe he was used for breeding as he certainly wasn't a cowpony. This was the type of animal Quinn would happily breed his mares against. Too bad the mare he rode on this trip wasn't in season. If she were, no doubt there would have been a bit more squealing on her part.
Quinn had spent years bartering good breed mares for his training services. Noble was notorious for not recognizing a good animal and even worse at caring for them. Quinn had rescued more than one prime mare from the man.
 Finding all well with the horses, he returned to the campfire. The woman had named herself Trish, not what he would have expected.
He filled the quiet hours of darkness watching her sleep. Her long hair had a hint of red in the firelight. Her features were gentle, her cheekbones high, her nose slightly upturned. He wondered how old she was. The dirt and grime smeared along her cheeks and chin masked her age quite adequately, a comely woman, not overly attractive.
Why would a woman dress like a man? Her clothing choice wasn't the only thing that seemed odd. Her shirt had fancy stitching and a collar like that needing a cravat of sorts, but she had none. And her pants: she looked to be plumb poured into them. Of course though it had been merely a glance, he had noticed the curves of her figure. Zelda had once been slight like Trish, and he'd liked Zelda that way. But time at Pierre's saloon had changed her.
When Quinn had first watched Trish from the cover of a downed tree nearby, she had seemed so small and needy under Old Curly's cruel captivity. Curly had threatened to take a poke at her and her whole bearing changed. Trish had become a she wolf, fighting for her life. A reaction totally opposite of how he knew Zelda would have reacted. Obviously this woman was cut from different cloth.
Trish had proved her capability to use a weapon quite well; he had the broken tooth and a nasty bump on his head to attest to it. He glanced at the dead man. She had finished him as well. A daughter, even one with amnesia wouldn't turn on her father unless… How long had Curly had her trussed up? Had he hit her or threatened to rape her before? If he had, he'd gotten what he deserved. Nah, it didn't make sense. Curly was as old and dirty as years of nothing but trails could make a man. Trish, on the other hand was clean in spite of the dirty smudge on her face and arms.
In Quinn's experience women generally needed taking care of. Trish apparently did too. Of course when she'd been free of her tethers, the tables had turned.
She turned over in her sleep, pulling her blanket up and exposing her feet. He appraised her boots. The heel seemed high and the fringe… Common sense, even that of a lady, deemed such extra trappings unwise. Maybe she was hiding the fancy stitching across the toe of the boot. The woman's clothing didn't make sense.
Trish wasn't like other women he'd known. His mother and sister were both genteel ladies of the South although they'd not been strangers to work. Zelda, though not refined, certainly enjoyed the softer side of life. Honest work, whether in the house or the fields wasn't what Zelda relished. Lucinda, Albert's wife, wasn't a complainer. She dealt with living in the rough cabin for the past year with a loving, even doting affection for Albert. They all needed defending at some point, but not this one.
Trish was different, and spirited -- just like her stallion. He liked a spirited horse. He'd trained many of them. They made the best mounts, even in a cowpony. Spirited animals worked hard and would give a man their last ounce of strength.
The log in the fire dropped, sending sparks into the air. Trish stirred, turning over but didn't wake.
Birds chirped heralding the coming of morning. Steam rose from the heating coffee pot. At last she awoke.

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