Ellie surprisingly took to traveling better than she thought she would. Her previous trip from Monmouth to Davenport must have been the perfect exposure for her because she and Connor had already been traveling for almost a week and it was not a miserable as she expected it to be.
Also, this trip was the perfect time for her and Connor to just spend time together without worrying about anything concerning the Brotherhood or anything in that spectrum. Ellie couldn’t remember a time Connor had smiled this much in one go and she only thanked God for letting her see this side of him.
She could tell he was worried about his people, but she had also never seen him look so carefree in his life. They both knew their work wasn’t done by far, but they were allowed this time to themselves.
They were now far into the French territory and Ellie was cooking the fish that Connor had caught. Connor, meanwhile, was lying on the ground beside her, looking up at the sky with his hands behind his head.
They had been seeing more and more signs of his people and Connor had predicted that they should be able to find them soon and both of them couldn’t have been more hopeful.
Ellie was sad to say that it was the most she had felt in years.
Something was bothering her the farther they went, despite all of this.
Ellie set the finished fish on a tin plate and handed it to him. “Will your people approve of me? I know we’re married by my standards but—“
“They will love you.”
Ellie frowned. “How can you be so sure?”
Connor sat up and grinned at her now pouting face. “Why are you not?”
Ellie frowned at him, giving him what he had now termed, ‘the Look’.
Taking her hands in his, Connor scooted closer to her. “They will see you as the person you are, not where you came from or what you look like.”
“Ratonhnhaké:ton, how could they not? They were forced to come here because of—“
“Do not doubt. They trust my judgment and they will believe me when I tell them you are the best person I know.”
She held his gaze for many moments, letting the fluttering feeling his words caused bask over her. “Flatterer.”
“It is the truth.”
Ellie grinned and reached up to wrap her arms around his neck. “I could say the same towards you, you know.”
“I do not deserve that.”
Pecking him on the nose, Ellie pulled him closer. “Yes, you do. Now, eat your dinner. We have a long day tomorrow.”
“Yes, we do.”
Connor’s heart would not stop pounding as he and Ellie rode further into the forest where he just knew his people were. Soon, he started to see the tell-tale signs of his people and the dread that had settled on his shoulders when he first discovered his abandoned village started to lift the further they went.
Soon, Connor could see the timber walls of a village ahead and he started to see familiar faces. He heard his name being thrown around as the men returning from their hunt saw them.
He pulled Dancer to a stop outside the entrance to the village and he quickly moved to help Ellie down from her own horse.
Connor looked to see one of his old friends running toward him and before he knew it, most of the hunters he grew up with were surrounding him.
He was home.
Connor’s tribe took Ellie in faster than she expected them to. Once they realized that she could speak with them fluently, it was as if she was truly one of them. Soon, she was speaking with Connor’s grandmother and the other Clan Mothers and they were discussing her and Connor’s situation.
That was when things became a little tense.
“You two wish to be married?” Oiá:ner asked, shifting a little from her spot on the floor.
Both Ellie and Connor nodded and Connor reached over and took her hand in his.
“And by our customs?”
They both nodded again.
All of the Clan Mothers looked at each other and Ellie feared they would deny them for a moment before they all started smiling.
“Of course we approve,” Oiá:ner laughed.
After that stressful moment was over, Connor and Ellie were basically shoved into a long house and both were put to work. Connor had explained that it would probably take a few weeks before they could actually get married by his people’s standards, but Ellie didn’t care.
She was seeing a part of him that he was never able to show her before and she was relishing every moment of it.
Most of their days usually consisted of Connor going out to hunt with the other men and Ellie enjoyed every moment with the other women of the tribe and they only got to see each other at night.
Ellie’s favorite moments were the moments when she saw Connor interact with the children of the tribe. Whenever he came back from a hunt, children would start clinging to his legs and sometimes they would hang off of his arms as well. She and Connor had talked about having children and they had decided to wait until everything was calmer in the newly found nation before doing so.
Ellie was finding it extremely difficult to keep thinking that way.
She imagined a little child with Connor’s hair, complexion, and eyes clinging to his leg and a warm feeling would spread throughout her body at the thought.
It was the day before the ceremony and Ellie was enjoying the night with Connor on the shore of the lake. They spent most of the night just enjoying being near each other and just tossing pebbles into the water.
“Thank you…for sharing all of this with me. It was perfect.”
Their gazes met and Connor’s eyes softened as she saw the familiar affection fill them. “This was all thanks to you. Without you…I never would have found them again.” He took her hands in his and pressed a kiss to her fingertips. “I truly do not deserve you.”
“Stop it,” she playfully ordered, reaching up and running her fingers through his hair.
Connor rolled his eyes and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer to his side.
“Do you know what I realized, being here and learning everything I have?” Ellie asked, breaking the comfortable silence.
“And what is that?”
“It amazes me that we come from two completely different worlds, but we live under the same sky.”
Connor looked down at her for a moment before looking up at the moon again. “And I would not share this world with anyone else.”
“I feel honored,” Ellie replied softly. She truly did feel honored. The culture of his people always fascinated her and she loved learning about any part of it she could.
She felt him turn and press his lips to her temple and her heart jumped like it always did when he whispered, “Konnorónhkwa.”
“I love you, too.”
Ellie knew they would have many trials to face in the future due to their lifestyles.
Despite this, she knew they could get through it together, and that was all that mattered.