Mairi Myers was thinking how busy and how different this place was from the city that she had left behind. She looked in the store beside her and saw a pretty dress. She smiled and mused that pretty dresses were not what she would need where she was going. She had a little money left from her parents, but had not told anyone in case she was robbed. Mairi had a good brain and a lot of common sense. She knew full well that travelling with a wagon train to find a whole new life would be fraught with danger and might not ever be successful.
She was quite tall at five feet seven inches, slender and willowy with blonde hair and green eyes. Her hair was tied back neatly. Her clothes were workday ones that would survive the long journey ahead.
Instead of paying to be included in the travelling group, she had found two families who were willing to pay her passage if she would teach the children. One of the couples was coming towards her to meet up. The two youngsters that she was to teach were alongside. The boy was kicking at the dust as he went and the girl was giving a little skip alongside her mom. Billy and Becky they were called. The boy was twelve and the girl ten.
Caroline, the mom, was going to buy a few clothes for the children, and she wanted Mairi to purchase what she would need to teach them on the journey. She and her husband, Michael Bessalone, were a friendly couple.
“Can you buy what the other children will need as well, please?” Caroline asked. “Muriel Carter asked me to pass on the message that she will come and join us.” Her husband said that he would leave them and go to see the leader of the wagon train.
Everyone was trying to prepare for what would maybe be six months of hard passage to a new world. It was eighteen sixty and tales of gold mines, lots of land to farm for the taking and wide open spaces away from the city poverty was bringing brave souls to Sheralena. The Oregon Trail beckoned.
Mairi saw that the store also had books and a local newspaper. She bought those for herself as well as paper and pencils for the children. Mairi was a voracious reader. She would read anything at all that was words on a page. It was one of those things that she just accepted. As soon as she had seen something written down, she was hooked, even as a very small child. Her father was an educated man and helped her to enjoy this gift that she had. Mairi could not remember a time when she could not read.
That was why she chose to help children to learn. That was why she had opted to try to use that desire to pay her passage on the Oregon Trail. She had a dream in her head of starting a school. Whether it was reading anything that came to hand or her father discussing a broad range of topics with her, Mary grew up with an open mind. She always tried to see both sides of a problem or an argument and she liked to give folk the benefit of the doubt.
The door opened and her assistant teacher came in with Muriel, the other mom who had hired her.
“Thought we might find you here,” Muriel Carter said with a smile. The two moms went into talking about suitable clothes for the children. Anneliesa headed for the basket of ribbons and material that was on the counter.
“Are you going to sew whilst there is daylight?” Mairi asked and Anneliesa nodded.
“I need threads and simple materials to show the girls how to embroider.”
“And a few hanks of wool to crochet as well,” Mairi added. Anneliesa collected what she thought would be useful and moved on to look at dresses.
“Maybe I could buy a dress to keep for best,” she said longingly. Mairi gave her shoulders a squeeze.
“It would get damaged before you had time to enjoy it.” The girl agreed and reluctantly left the dress where it was.
“Wish I could stay as thin as you do,” she said, but she smiled as she spoke.
“I am like a stick,” Mairi said. The girls laughed at themselves and collected all the items they had thought they would need. They made their way through the crowded street to where the wagons were collecting in the preparation to leave.
The place was a hub of activity. There was more than one wagon train making arrangements to attempt the journey. The area just outside of the main street was a jumble of wagons of all sorts. Then there were horses and oxen for pulling the carts. There was all of the stock being taken along for food on the journey, but folk also wanted a basic set of cattle with them at the end of the passage to start a herd and make a ranch.
What the stores in the town could not carry was being sold from makeshift tables. The travellers needed salt pork that would keep for some time. In temporary corrals there were horses for sale – although most of the pioneers had their own already, there was always the odd accident or lameness that put people in need of replacements.
Mairi and Anneliesa headed for the huge Conestoga wagon that was their home for the next few months. The couple who had them as paying passengers had no children and could accommodate two more sleepers. The big and heavy wagon was drawn by oxen, which made for slow going, but meant they could carry more. Jim Gardiner and his wife, Betty, had agreed to carry the two girls and to allow them to use the wagon as a schoolroom as they rolled along.
“Hello girls. Did you buy what you needed?” Betty asked, and showed them where she had made a storage space for the teaching materials to be stored. Mairi moved to one side to let Anneliesa pull herself up the step into the body of the cart.
“I found materials for embroidery as well,” Anneliesa told her. She sat on the pile of bedding that was at one side. There was actually a reasonable amount of space. Betty had made a curtain across the middle so that the girls could sleep in one half whilst she and Jim used the other part.
“It is very busy out there,” Mairi observed, and stood at the opening to look across the huge number of vehicles and animals. “The first wagon train is moving out.”
The other two women came and looked over her shoulder. It was a train that was following an army contingent and the military riders and storage vehicles went first, followed by the wagons. The stock they had with them was spaced between the carts and a lot of men were walking alongside to keep the animals in line. It was a long train and took a while to move away. The dust settled and it made space for their own train, which was the next to be organised.
Two men were talking a little distance away and Mairi saw that the white man of the two had a lot of newspapers held in his arm. The other man was a native but had an army jacket as well as a buckskin vest and a headband. “That is the newspaper reporter and printer,” Betty said in answer to her query. “I think he talks to the native people as well as just staying in town.”
“Some of the native people work as guides,” Mairi said. “Maybe that is what the other man does.”
“Let us hope that all the ones that we meet are working as guides and don’t want to kill us,” Anneliesa added.
“Think about how good it will be when we reach a new place to build a life,” Mairi said, and gave her friend a little hug. “I guess we will be so busy and so tired that we will not have time to worry about it.”
Jim came back and joined the women.
“We start in the morning,” he announced. “If you need anything else, speak out now.”
“Exciting,” Mairi said.
“It is the beginning of a new life,” Betty added.
“How far will we go tomorrow?” Anneliesa asked. The man was not sure.
“We will have to go at the speed of the oxen,” Jim said. “They will be slow. I guess we will only make a few miles until we get into a routine.”
“I think we should start with the children on the first day. It will let them know that they have work to do,” Mairi remarked.
Betty moved to the small stove. The heavy wagon was equipped with a stove and a metal chimney that went through a hole in the overhead canvas cover. She had a stew cooking and they made up the table in the center of the space.
There was a lot to be prepared in the evening. The two girls worked with Betty and Jim and everything was packed. None of them slept very well as they knew they were starting at first light. Breakfast was eaten in the dark by the light of a paraffin lantern. Then the oxen were hitched to the shafts of the heavy wagon, the two horses tied behind and they were to collect the cattle that were to be the start of the new herd. They joined the long line of travellers with an assortment of wagons and carts. Once in line, everyone halted as the leader of the train came down the line and spoke to every wagoner. Captain Baker ran a tight ship and made sure that everyone knew the rules. His two main helpers rode up and down either side and made sure that everyone knew what they were doing
He went back to the head of the train and waved his hand to indicate moving forward, as he went back along the line. The air of excitement quivered through the waiting travelers. . Mairi stood at the opening at the rear of the wagon and watched the traders and townspeople stay behind as the cavalcade trundled forward.
The native man who had been talking to the journalist was dismounting from his horse and watched as the vehicles moved past. He had a very serious expression on his face and made no movement. His plaited hair came over both shoulders.. He did not appear to be armed. Mairi felt a little shiver and assumed it was fear or the excitement of starting the journey. His eyes met hers and there was a second when she thought that he could see into her soul. She shook herself and raised a hand in a farewell gesture. The man raised a hand in return and then vaulted onto his horse and rode in the opposite direction.
“He is a handsome man,” Anneliesa’s voice said beside her.
“Too early in the day to be looking at handsome men,” Mairi laughed. “The adventure has begun. Where on earth will we be in six months’ time?”
They decided to find the pupils for teaching when the wagons stopped to rest and sat on some bedding to watch the world go slowly by.
“These big wagons are heavy and carry a lot but they do shake you about,” Anneliesa observed. “Writing will be difficult for the children.”
“Maybe we will read when we are moving and write when we stop to eat.”
Betty came back from the front seat and asked them to help her move the cattle back into line. The three women slipped from the back step and walked on either side of the beasts that were starting to drift to the side. Then Betty went back to take the reins and Jim took the halter of the ox and walked alongside to make sure they were going well.
It was all incredibly slow as they all walked at the rate of the slowest wagons.
Captain Baker and his assistant, Jed, rode up and down the sides to check everyone was okay. The other man helping was at the head of the train. He was a large man and very imposing. Mairi thought that he must be employed to make sure rules were enforced.
Mairi caught a glimpse of someone on a horse away to one side.
“No signs of any trouble,” Jed said when she mentioned it. “I’ll ride over and check it out.
Captain Baker called a halt at midday and the column came to a thankful rest. The animals were watered and allowed to graze at the side but still had to be contained. Most of the travellers made small fires to heat coffee and ate cold rations rather than spend time cooking. They had made about six miles in the morning and Baker was grateful for no mishaps so far.
He came down the line checking that everyone was okay to move on and stopped to talk to Jim. The two men knew each other from a cattle ranch and Mairi knew that Jim trusted the wagon leader. He had driven a good many of these parties before and knew the trail. He was a hardened traveller who could be a very tough man when the occasion arose.
“Have I got time to find the children for teaching before we start again?” Mairi asked, and he told her that he would make sure she had them in the wagon before he gave the word. Jed came to tell Captain Baker that there was a family with a wheel problem and the leader added that she probably had time to gather the pupils if somebody needed a wheel change.
“Knew it was going too well,” he said, and moved away to fix the trouble.
Mairi and Anneliesa walked to the two families and collected the children. There was much warning about behaviour from both moms and young Billy was none too pleased to be going to school on his first day. The two other children were twin girls aged nine with chubby cheeks and ready smiles. They were Millicent and Melissa.
As the two women took the children back to the wagon, another mom ran to stop them and asked if they had room for another boy.
“We can pay whatever the others are paying,” she offered, and looked quite distressed.
“Are you feeling alright?” Mairi asked, and the woman started to cry. The four children around them all looked interested as there was obviously something wrong. Mairi took the woman’s hand.
“Can we help?”
“My Tomas is a naughty boy and he doesn’t want to be in the wagon all of the time. He keeps destroying things that he knows I need and he won’t help his dad with the animals or anything else. I don’t know what to do. It is a lot to ask of you.”
Mairi glanced at Anneliesa, who gave a brief smile and a nod.
“Well, let’s give it a try,” Mairi told the woman. “Shall we all go and collect him?”
Young Billy had perked up considerably at the idea of another boy in the group. They moved down the line to where a young lad of about the same age as Billy was swinging his legs off the side of the wagon. His dad was hitching up the two horses again and could have done with an extra hand. Tomas had a sullen look about him.
Anneliesa took in the sight and went to hold one of the horses for the man whilst he fastened the other. The job was done easily and Mac Constanza thanked her.
“That was what you should have done, Tomas. The young lady was good enough to lend a hand.”
Tomas made a sort of snuffling noise and looked at the ground.
“I am Kari Constanza,” the woman said. “Does he need anything with him?”
“Just a good morning would be a pleasant idea,” Mairi said looking the youngster. “This is Billy and he will tell you what we are starting. Come on, Tomas.” Then to Kari she added that they would see how the afternoon went.
“Can we pay you?” Mac asked, and Mairi said to see how things progressed. “Down from there and go with these folk,” Mac added to his son and the boy reluctantly slid to the ground. Mairi looked at Billy and gave a nod with her head towards the new lad. Billy grinned.
“Race you to the wagon,” he said to Tomas and shot off as he said it. Tomas followed at a run but could not just catch up before they reached the heavy cart. The two of them were panting and holding onto the back step when the rest of them appeared.
Betty took the information about the new boy without complaint and said she would be driving.
“You can use the whole wagon to do your work,” she added. They all climbed inside.
“Find a comfortable seat and we can have a talk before we start,” Mairi said. “You can call us Mairi and Anneliesa. We have no classroom except the wagon.”
Captain Baker rode past saying they were on the move and after a little while the wagon in front creaked forward and the big, heavy Conestoga trundled forward.
They all settled to the sway and bumps of the wagon. The metal wheels did not make an easy ride and it was quite noisy. Mairi smiled at them and said they would have to talk loudly to each other.
“I’ll tell you about me and Anneliesa will do the same. Then we will go from the youngest to the oldest and hear about all of you. We have to spend quite a lot of time together.” She took a breath and looked around. “I am Mairi Myers. I am twenty years old and I like teaching. Most of all I like reading. I will read anything – newspapers, the Bible, storybooks and even instructions on making things. My mom and dad are both passed away and I want to reach a new place and start a school.” She paused and looked at their faces. “Most of all I like making up stories and when we have all told us who we are, I will tell you one.”
Anneliesa took over and said that she was eighteen and was helping Mairi as an assistant teacher.
“Maybe I will meet a handsome rancher and live happily ever after.” She smiled at them. “I love embroidery and sewing. I don’t suppose the boys will like to do that but sewing on a button can be very useful when you are a long way from home.”
“I can sew on buttons,” Tomas suddenly broke in. “I like making things and mending things.”
“You are probably better than me, in that case,” Anneliesa answered. “Maybe you can help me to show the others.” The lad nodded and looked as if he was pleased to be there for the first time. Mairi asked him to tell them where they had come from. Now that he had become involved, she wanted to keep the mood going. He told them that his mom and dad wanted to find some land and grow things.
“I would rather stay in the city and have an office,” he volunteered.
“I must admit there are advantages to the city,” Mairi agreed. She moved on to the twins and asked them what they liked to do. They were pleasant little girls who liked anything that most girls did.. Becky was slightly older and said that she helped her mom to cook. She hoped Mairi would tell them lots of stories. The others all agreed with that and they were starting to chatter to each other.
Billy went last. Mairi and Anneliesa had already realized that he was the most sensible of the group. He said that his mom had said that if he worked hard, they could have a dog when they reached the ranch.
“Strange that you should say that,” Mairi said. “I just remembered a story about a dog. Would you all like to hear it?” They all said that would be good and found comfortable places to listen.
Mairi told them about a young dog whose mom was very beautiful and everyone petted her. Felix, the puppy, did not know who he was. He thought he might be a fish and made a lot of mess when he jumped into a muddy pond. He tried to be a bird and jumped off a box. That hurt a little bit and then he saw a lady with a furry hat and thought he might be a hat. That caused real trouble when he tried to sit on her head.
The children giggled.
“Felix went back to his mom and said it was not fair.
“You are a beautiful dog. I do not know what I am.”
“The most important thing to me is that you are my son. You will grow into a handsome grown up dog. Come into the front garden with me.”
Felix trotted behind his elegant mother and looked over the picket fence.
“Oooo,” a little girl called out. “What a lovely puppy.” She reached through the gate and scratched his ears. Another few children came and told him he was a wonderful dog. Their mom came and reached over the fence.
“Hello young man. You will be a handsome dog when you grow up.”
Felix wagged his tail so hard he thought it might fall off.
“See,” his mom said. “You are a lovely puppy and will be a handsome dog.”
Felix was happy and then he told her that he had liked being a fish and jumped back in the muddy water.
Her audience was pleased with the story.
“Work,” Mairi said. “Can you draw Felix for me? He can be in the water, dirty, a hat, or anything else really. It is up to you.”
“I have some stars,” Annelisa said. “The best one gets the first star and in two weeks we will see who has the most.”
“There will be a little prize,” Mairi added.
The wagon bumped and rolled and joggled but they sat with tongues sticking out and rested on flat surfaces to bring their visions of Felix to life. Mairi and Annelisa offered encouragement and after a little while took in the drawings and looked at them.
The twins both had fluffy dogs and one of them was on somebody’s head. Becky had tried to draw a proper dog with a long coat and a waggy tail. Billy had the head of the dog in the water and lots of mud splashes everywhere. Tomas had a quick drawing of a dog with a black nose but the kennel he had drawn beside it was outstanding.
Mairi went through them all and asked each one to tell her about the dog in their picture. She decided, in the end, that the funniest one and the one that told her about the story was Millicent’s hat. Anneliesa gave Millie a sheet and put on the first star. She clapped her hands and everyone joined in. Millie was pleased as punch and then Anneliesa turned to Tomas.
“This kennel is wonderful. Can you do other buildings?”
“I like buildings,” he said. “When I am grown up, maybe I can build them.”
“So, these are your plans?” Mairi asked and the lad nodded. Anneliesa grinned.
“If you can draw me a small house that I can use for an embroidery pattern, that would definitely be worth a star.” She pulled out the embroidery she was working with and showed him how she needed to draw the picture before she could fill it in with threads.
“I can manage flowers and leaves but not a little cottage with roses around the door.”
“I can do that,” Tomas told her.
“I think for a first day, we have done very well. Thank you everyone,” Mairi told them. The wagon train had slowed and stopped and the two women walked the children back to their parents. They took their pictures with them and Millie took her first star.
As the wagoners moved their carts into a circle to contain the animals they had with them, Mairi saw that there were lots of berries close by.
“I’ll get some of those in the morning,” she thought, and went to help Jim and Betty.
The wagon train was quite large and Baker told them to make two circles.
“It is not really for protection,” he said to Jim, “but it makes it easier in the morning to separate the animals.” He had stopped Jim’s wagon and asked him to start the second circle when the first one was in place. They all watched as the first circle joined up and moved their stock into the center.
“Sixty wagons mean it is easier to do two thirties,” Baker added. Jim steered the way to make a big enough ring for the thirty that followed him.
Mairi realized that Captain Baker had to know where the flat ground was big enough to support all of the train. It was a big responsibility. They ended up in almost the same place that they had started The other wagons all stopped, released the animals from the shafts and hauled the carts into place to keep the stock contained. Then folk started their camp fires or lit their stoves to make food before the light disappeared.
“First day over,” Mairi said to Anneliesa.
“Only five months and twenty-nine days to go,” Anneliesa replied. “But the children were quite good.”
Mairi helped Betty with household chores where she could, but then sat with some paper to plan the lessons for the next day. There was not a lot of daylight left and she wanted to be ready.
Food was eaten and folk sat around their campfires and talked to neighbours. It was a feeling of relief that they had actually all started this journey and they were starting to feel like part of a big family. Captain Baker had a small band of guards with him and told everyone that the men would patrol through the night.
It gave everyone a bit of confidence, and as light disappeared, they kicked out fires and closed themselves into the wagons.
Anneliesa and Mairi whispered to each other for a little while and despite sleeping in a wagon in the middle of wild countryside, they drifted off to sleep.
Mairi woke as a finger of daylight touched her face through a slit in the wagon fastening. She lay for a moment and remembered where she was. She put her head outside and breathed in the clean air and quiet. Then she pulled on a dress and boots, collected a small basket and went to find the cover of the bushes to do what nature was telling her she needed to do. Then she made her way to where she had seen the berries the day before.
It was lovely to enjoy being able to collect something useful but still have a little bit of peace and quiet. She was not very far from the wagon circle and there was nothing apparently to cause concern. She had a selection of fruit in the basket and was looking down to see if she should collect some more, when suddenly, there was no ground under her foot and she fell down a steep rocky face.
Mairi screamed as she fell and clutched at a stubby tree that was growing from a crack in the rock face. She scrabbled with her feet and found a ledge that would hold her weight. Then she looked down and her heart did a wild panic as she saw the steep drop below her. She was safe on the ledge and clung tightly to the small tree but climbing up again looked to be impossible. The basket and the fruit were definitely lost.
“Help,” Mairi quavered and her voice did not carry very far. Then a male voice called down to her and she felt a surge of relief.
“Hello, down there.”
“Help,” she said again, “I fell off the edge.”
“I can see that,” the voice replied. “Hold on and I’ll come down.”
She did just that and held on very tightly. She was very thankful for the stout little tree that was saving her life. She looked upwards and saw a rope drop down beside her. Then some legs came down the rope and rested on the ledge alongside her.
“Oh, thank you,” she said, and realized the fact that her saviour was the native man that she had seen talking to the reporter.
He was on the ledge beside her and standing very close. He smiled and his serious face transformed into someone that she would remember always.
“I am Waya,” he told her. “I will tie us both onto the rope and you can climb up ahead of me.”
“I am Mairi,” she said, and smiled despite the danger of the situation. “You are saving my life.”
“We haven’t got there yet,” he replied, and started to tie her onto the rope. He left a long piece and then added himself. “Can you see the small holes that can give you a handhold?” She said that she could. “Start up slowly. Hold on to the hand and foot holds and I will follow and catch you if you slip. The rope is tied securely. We will not fall off the cliff.”
His voice was so steady and firm that it gave her confidence to do as she said. She automatically knew that this man was to be trusted.
“Right,” she said, and started to reach up for handholds. She moved upwards slightly. It was harder than it looked and then she felt his hand clutch a handful of her skirt and lift her upwards. That let her reach two footholds and she stepped up quite a good distance. She felt him step up behind her as well, and as she glanced up, she saw there were only a couple of yards to go.
“You are doing well, Mairi. Keep on going. We are almost there.”
She found the next few ledges and gripped with her fingertips. He helped again with a push from behind and after another break to catch breath; she felt the top of the cliff and scrambled over to safety. She turned and offered him a hand as his head came over the edge and the two of them reached safety. They both crawled on hands and knees to where he had tied the rope and released it. Then each of them took a deep breath and leaned against the tree.
“My Lord,” Mairi said, “I knew this journey would be dangerous but I never thought to fall off a cliff.”
“I never expected to climb down a cliff face and find a woman in trouble,” he answered, and gave her that slow smile.
“You speak wonderful English,” she said.
“I worked for the army and I also talk to my friend Jeremiah. I would like to think that we can be friends with people who come to this land.”
“Jeremiah must be the reporter man from the newspaper,” she answered. He nodded.
“I like to read and he is always happy to let me have the old journals.”
“You do?” Mairi exclaimed. “I love to read and I am teaching the children as we go along. Maybe I will have a school one day.”
“That would be a great thing to do.” It was very strange to be sitting with her back against a tree talking to a native man who had just saved her life. It was even more unusual to find that they both loved to read and went on to talk about that as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
“Have you read any William Shakespeare?” Mairi suddenly asked. He shook his head. “It is difficult to read but wonderful at the same time. I have one that I have read four times. I can give it to you.”
“What sort of story is it?” he asked suspiciously. Mairi laughed.
“It is not a silly woman’s love story. It is about murder and set in Scotland.” He gave her a proper smile that time and said he would enjoy reading it. She said that her grandmother was Scottish and that was why she liked reading about the place. “My name is spelt Mairi because of the connection.” She jumped up. “I’ll go and get it.” Then she stopped, “Maybe I should gather berries to replace the ones I lost.”
“I’ll collect some for you,” he offered, and she ran lightly back to the wagon where Anneliesa was wondering where she was. Mairi went to her store of reading materials and found a much used copy of Macbeth.
“I fell off the cliff. The native man saved me and I am giving him this book.”
“What?” Anneliesa said. “Are you alright? What happened? Who is this man? I should come with you.”
“Come on then,” Mairi said, and the two girls went away into the trees. Waya had collected a good many berries and had them in a large leaf.
“Gosh,” Anneliesa said, and stopped in her tracks.
“Anneliesa, meet Waya. He just climbed down the cliff and saved my life.”
Anneliesa held out a hand.
“Thank you for that. Where is this cliff?” They moved back carefully to the edge. “Oh, my Lord,” Anneliesa said. “That is so dangerous.” She shuddered and drew back from the edge. “We should warn people.”
Mairi handed him the book.
“That is the least I can do to say thank you,” she said.
“I will read it and return it to you sometime,” he answered. “I travel about quite a lot.”
“Where do you live?” Anneliesa asked him and like Mairi, she did not seem to find it odd to be talking to a native man in the trees.
“My tribe has a village not far away but they move from place to place.” He smiled, “I will be in trouble because I am late for a meeting. I should go.” He looked at Mairi. “Are you alright after that fright?”
She held out a hand.
“Yes, and thank you so much.” He took her hand and for a second she felt such a strong connection to this man that she thought it might even be the rope still tying them together. The rope, of course, was coiled up beside him. He looked directly into her eyes and there was something there that she could not fathom.
“I will persevere with the book. Thank you.” He brought his horse from in the trees and walked it away from them. Then he turned as the bushes were closing around him and raised a hand in farewell.
“Ye gods, that was one handsome man,” Anneliese said. Mairi grinned and gave her a push.
“And he had a rope that he used to save me from falling all the way down.” The girls picked up the berries and headed for the wagon. Betty was looking for them to have breakfast as the wagons were starting to be hitched and made ready to move.
“I had a bit of an accident,” Mairi said. “Sorry. Not as many berries as I thought I would collect.” The girls ate their breakfast quickly and went to collect the children for the next stage of the journey. As they piled inside the wagon, Mairi looked back to the trees and she saw a hand raised fleetingly and then withdrawn into the cover. She smiled.
“Saved by a Tender Warrior” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Mairi Myers is left all alone in the world after the tragic loss of her family to illness. Dreaming of starting her own school one day, she takes a job teaching children on a wagon train heading out west. Not long into the journey, she is saved from a near death experience by a young native man who turns her world upside down. She immediately feels drawn to this kind and gentle man, who intrigues her with his love of reading. As multiple disasters strike the wagon train, tensions rise high between the travelers and the local native tribe. In the midst of chaos, will Mairi be forced to choose between continuing her journey and following the secret call of her heart to embrace something wondrous?
Waya is a warrior who longs to bring peace between his tribe and the nearby settlers. Sadly, his views are not shared by his elders, who prefer an aggressive response to the wagon trains crossing their land and killing their livestock. When he comes across a beautiful young woman from one of the wagons in peril, he rushes immediately to save her life. From the moment their eyes meet, the connection between them is unlike anything either of them have felt before and Waya is captivated. As he desperately tries to convince his own people not to harm the travelers, will Waya succeed in keeping the enchanting woman safe and find a way to build a life with her?
Mairi and Waya find themselves in an impossible situation, on opposite sides of a conflict that could erupt at any time. Coming from different worlds, true love seems like an impossible dream. When their bond becomes too strong to deny though, will they be willing to defy anyone who might try to challenge them? With their lives set on completely different paths, will they choose to fight for a future neither could have ever dreamt was possible or will outside forces tear them apart forever?
“Saved by a Tender Warrior” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.