Cowboy Kingdom

by SeaBird

Part 3

Chapter 1 – REVELATIONS AND RESCUES

The Trooper manning the Fort used his radio to call the Main House, "O'Brian, Fort Sentry, Over"

Tim answered the call, "Fort Sentry, O'Brian"

The Sentry replied, "O'Brian, Fort Sentry, I need to contact Mr. Pat, over"

Tim replied, "Fort Sentry, O'Brian, wait one"

Tim took the radio into Pat and told him that the Fort Sentry needed to speak with him.

Pat picked up the radio and spoke, "Fort Sentry, O'Brian, this is Pat, over"

The Fort Sentry replied, "O'Brian, Fort Sentry, Sir there is an Indian man here asking for you, he says his name is Tonho and it is urgent and very important"

Pat sat down with a thud and covered his face.

Alarmed, Tim went to his older brother and put his arm on his shoulder, "Can I help, Bro?"

Pat shook his head and said into the radio, "Fort Sentry, O'Brian, send Tonho on to the house."

Pat sat, his whole body shaking in sobs, "Merciful God, help me in my time of need, bring him back to me."

Tim, very alarmed now, called for Cal to come immediately. The brothers always had known their older Brother was gay, it had never been an issue with them. Both brothers held Pat and asked him what was wrong. Pat could only shake his head and cry. Tim had heard Pat tell the sentry to send the visitor on to the house, so he left Pat with Cal and went out to the front porch to meet the visitor.

As he came out the door a young Indian man stepped from his horse and, in a slow and deliberate manner, approached the front door. The man stood well over 6 feet, was broadly muscled and had a dignified manner about him that radiated power and intelligence.

He stood before Cal and said gently, "You are Patrick's younger brother, I know I my presence is hurting your brother, but the matter is of vital importance and very urgent. Please, accept my most sincere apologies, but I must speak to Patrick."

Cal looked at the man and asked, "What are you to my Brother, why is he in the house and crying?"

The man replied, "The answer to that you must ask of your Brother, I must not speak for him. Please, time is of the essence. Just know I would not hurt Patrick for anything in this world, if I could do otherwise."

Just then Pat stepped out the door with Tim right behind him. Pat looked at the Indian man, tears were flowing down his face, "Too, To , Tonho, have you come back to me?"

The man replied in a shaky voice, "No Patrick O'Brian, I am SHAMAN now, I cannot, I must not. My people would perish should I do so."

Pat slumped to the porch bench and asked, "My beloved, what is it you need?"

Tim and Cal were looking at each other and at their brother in wonder.

Tonho said, "The Mexican gangs are moving, they come to conquer us both. Together, we have a chance to defeat them, we must prevail, to fail dooms both our peoples to slavery and death."

Pat stood, his two brothers supporting him, "We will fight them and together we shall defeat them"

Tonho nodded and replied, "I shall send someone to you, look for him." Without looking back, the man mounted his horse and slowly rode away, his head hanging in deep sorrow.

Tim and Cal practically carried Pat back into the house and sat him on the couch while he sobbed as if his heart were breaking. It was. The two younger brothers held Pat and, after a while, they thought he had fallen asleep.

They started to lay him down and he stopped them, "You need to hear my story, listen, I met Tonho when I was in the University. I don't know how it happened, but suddenly we were in love. Yes, I know, but that was how it was. Papa was sent to Iraq, where he was killed. Then Mama was having you guys, I dropped out of the University to come home and care for the ranch and you guys 'cause Mama, we lost her too. I did my Navy time in the Reserves because I had you to look after as well as the ranch. Maria cared for you while I did my Basic Training, then they released me.

After I came back home, I tried to find Tonho, but he had disappeared and I could not find him. When you guys were a little older, I looked for him again, but they told me he had gone away. Now I have found him again and still he is gone from me.

Cal gently asked his brother, "Pat, are you gay?"

Pat looked at him and gave a kind of smile, "Maybe. I don't know for sure. It was just Tonho, something clicked in both of us."

All three brothers were emotionally wrung out, Maria knew the story, although Pat was unaware of that, she was sitting in her kitchen grieving for a man she thought of as one of her sons, she thought of all three of the O'Brian boys as though they were products of her own body. She was hurting almost as much as Patrick was.

Cal and Tim took Pat to his bedroom and undressed him. They put him to bed and they lay down on either side of him, sheltering him from the outside world. The next morning, all three arose and spoke nothing of the events of the previous day.

They enlarged the Guard Force, making it a small army. Guns were distributed and they practiced mounted maneuvers and assaults. They were waiting, but they knew not for what.

A month passed and the Sentry Post Alarm was rung shortly after lunch. Pat and his brothers, as well as two squads of troopers raced to Turkey Knob to see a small Indian boy on a pony slowly ride towards them. It was apparent the boy was very frightened but there was something about the boy that sent Patrick's mental alarms ringing.

The boy looked at the men arrayed in front of him and rode up to Patrick and a clear boy's treble voice said, "It is time, ride for Horse Mesa. I am to go with you." My Papa Tohno gave me this for you. He reached out and handed Pat a letter.

He then rode over beside Pat and stopped, "I am for you, Patrick O'Brian"

Pat's head was swimming, he asked the boy, "What is your name, son?"

The boy looked at Pat and replied, "I am called Tonho O'Brian, sir." He rode his pony over to Pat and said, "My Papa told me to ask you to be my Papa, that he would not survive the coming war with the Mexicans.

Pat called out the troops, they had contacted the few surrounding ranches asking for men and with those who were already living at Willow Springs, there were almost 500 mounted troopers. They had been divided into three divisions, Pat commanded the First Division, Cal the Second and Tim the Third. They prayed they would stop the Mexicans, only the old men and the women were left to defend the ranch.

Pat wanted Tonho O'Brian to remain with Maria, but he refused, "Papa, if you die, so also shall I. I must be with you."

Pat thought, "The boy is but 9 years old, but his heart is that of a Warrior. Tonho, My Love, pray for us that I may keep our son safe."

Horse Mesa was a two day ride from Willow Springs, it was with a sense of urgency that the force rode south, towards the border with Mexico. Pat was a bit surprised that a 9 year old boy was able to maintain the pace that seasoned cowhands were taking, the boy never complained and kept his pony alongside Pat's horse the entire way.

That night, the boy spread his bedroll alongside Pat's and he knelt down in prayer before going to sleep, "Great Spirit, your path is known to me and I accept your will. I pray for your guidance that I please Papa Patrick, help me to be his son in your image O Great Spirit, and that I may in some small way, ease his spirit and sooth his soul. In you, Great Spirit, I place my body and my soul."

Pat held the small boy in his arms and kept him warm throughout the night. The next day, both his brothers saw Pat's face streaked with dried tears. They said nothing, but both were determined that they would keep him and the child safe during the coming conflict.

On the afternoon of the second day, Horse Mesa was seen on the horizon and the smoke of many fires could be seen. Pat sent scouts forward to see who and what was already at the Mesa. They came back at a gallop, there were Mexican Bandits camped at the base of the Mesa and there were many people corralled in fences being guarded by the Mexicans.

Pat was sure they were captives and they planned their attack for the next morning. As they were eating cold rations that evening, so there would be no fires, Tonho O'Brian was sitting beside Pat and quietly eating. He suddenly went rigid and stared into the sky with a blank look on his face. Pat looked at the child in worry, thinking he was afraid. In a few minutes, the boy's face returned to normal and he said, "Papa Patrick, Papa Tonho will attack with his Warriors at first light tomorrow. Be ready, as soon as the attack begins, you must attack the rear of the Mexican Bandits and crush them between my Papa Tonho's People and our own.

Sleep now, Papa Patrick, we shall need all our energy for tomorrow." He looked at Pat and saw tears flowing down his face. Tonho O'Brian reached for Pat's hand and said, "Do not be sad, Papa Tonho will reside with the Great Spirit forever. He will wait for you until it is your time. Be at ease, this is according to the Great Spirit's plan, all will be well."

The next morning, all of Pat's troops were awakened and they made ready. They could hear the sounds of the Mexican camp as they awoke and started their day.

Pat ordered the three divisions to mount and be ready, they began to hear a commotion coming from the Mexican camp and then the war cries of Indian Warriors in battle.

Pat raised his rifle and yelled, "FOLLOW ME!" He raced across the desert sand, a boy and his pony kept at his side. That boy also carried a rifle, a small Winchester lever action 30-30.

The Cowboy Troopers were not to be outdone by a small boy, they came thundering after the two, slamming into the rear of the Mexican Bandits, crushing and grinding them between the two forces. Before the sun had fully risen, the Mexicans were totally crushed, out of their nearly 1,000 men, fewer than 100 survived and they would be executed before noon.

Pat and Tonho O'Brian were unhurt, as soon as victory was assured, they went looking for Tonho. Towards late afternoon, Patrick found his Tonho among the dead. He had a gentle smile on his face and, except for a single bullet hole in his chest, his body was unmarked.

They loaded Tonho's body on Pat's horse and Tonho O'Brian led his pony as the two slowly brought Tonho's body back to their camp so he could be properly buried.

They were joined by Pat's brothers, Tim and Cal. Others, sensing the extreme emotion of their leader, followed as they climbed a small hill that overlooked the battlefield. There, where the battlefield could be seen, they buried the Beloved of Patrick Peter O'Brian.

The tears of a man and a boy wetted the soil as it filled the grave. Patrick and Tonho O'Brian sat at the site in mourning a night and a day before Pat's brothers came and carried the two back to their camp.

The Warriors, Indian and Cowboy, who had survived the battle, formed a barrier of honor around the two, standing a silent watch as they slept in exhaustion.

Chapter 2 – PEACE AT LAST

The next morning, Patrick O'Brian stood before the combined forces of Cowboys and Indians, "We have won a great battle, but our work is not finished. We have those held captive by the Mexican Bandits to settle and we have our Brothers, Tonho's People to care for.

He turned to the Indian Braves standing to one side and said, "Brothers, will you come with us, we are one folk and should be together."

An old Brave stepped forward, "Beloved of our Shaman, we are your people, with you we shall live forever."

They gathered their belongings and went to stand behind Patrick and Tonho O'Brian.

Tonho O'Brian stood in front of his Papa Patrick and called out, "Those of you who were held captive by the Mexican Bandits are also our Brothers. Will you come with us, we are one folk and should be together."

An elderly Grandfather stood forth and replied, "I, for one, will go with you, all those who would go with me, let us join our Brothers, the Indian Braves!" The entire group joined with the Braves.

The Old Indian Brave came up to Patrick and held his hand, "Brother, Beloved of our Shaman, we will go and collect our women and children, we will join you at your Place, Patrick O'Brian, Willow Springs."

He turned and knelt before Tonho O'Brian, "Young Tonho O'Brian honor your Father, Tohno, but love your Papa Patrick O'Brian, for he is our future, he who is Beloved of our Shaman."

The group moved slowly back towards Willow Springs, many who had been wounded were carried on the horses while those unhurt walked and led the horses.

Tonho O'Brian sprinted ahead on his pony to alert those at the ranch of their victory and the great body of folk coming back. By the time the first arrivals began trickling into the ranch yard, Maria and the women had prepared vast amounts of food and made places where the weary and wounded could take their ease.

The women of the surrounding ranches arrived with wagons of supplies, blankets and medicines to help their returning warriors. They would rest there for several days, the Indian Warriors and their families arrived, some thought they might not be accepted the white people, but that was not the case.

Tonho O'Brian organized a ball game among the boys that went back and forth all afternoon.

The girls all collected in the shade that surrounded the spring and traded dolls until dark.

The weather was warm and pleasant, they put the babies down in the bunkhouse and all the adults gathered in friendly conversation.

Pat asked Tonho O'Brian who was the Leader of the Braves and Tonho took him to an elderly Sub Chief, Bear Talon. Pat sat down in front of Bear Talon and waited for the man to speak.

At last, Bear Talon said, "I see you, Patrick O'Brian, Beloved of our Shaman. What say you?"

Tonho stood there with Pat, holding his hand while Pat collected his thoughts. He replied, "I see you also, Chief Bear Talon. I would ask you to join us at this place and be one with us at this place."

Bear Talon responded, "I hear you Patrick O'Brian and I ask this, if we bring our animals, will we be one with you in this place?"

Pat replied, "I hear you also, Chief Bear Talon. Your people and my people would become our people, this place shall be our place for so long as the sun shines and the moon crosses the night sky."

So it was that Tonho's people came to live at Willow Springs Ranch. Some were never to give up their nomadic way of life, but many settled in the immediate area and built homes for their families. The combined cattle herd thrived and, as civilization slowly returned, Willow Springs Ranch became the largest cattle ranch in the restored nation.

Those who had been held captive by the bandits settled mostly in the abandoned county seat, a few of the younger men joined the cowboys and the Indian Braves in guarding the ranch and its cattle. In a few short years, there were many children running around of mixed white and Indian heritage.

Patrick was dragooned into becoming the first Governor of the restored state government and Tonho O'Brian went with him to the state capitol. The boy grew into a fine man, tall and broad shouldered. His quick wit and intelligence marked him early and he was elected as the legislative representative from their district, where he shone as a champion of all. His thundering voice was heard regularly arguing passage of a bill that would benefit all, not just a select few.

The problems with Mexican Bandits did not end with that first battle. They were a festering sore in the side of the state and its people. Twice Patrick raised an army to do battle with them. As governor he led troops along the border and deep into Mexico to root them out. The bandit gangs put a price on his head but he was too well protected by his own personal bodyguards of Cowboys and Indian Braves. A young Indian Brave commanded that Bodyguard, Captain Tonho O'Brian, State Militia. So fierce was that bodyguard and its Captain, its mere mention was often sufficient to make the bandits retreat at a dead run.

When Patrick left office after four terms as State Governor, Tonho O'Brian resigned from the Legislature and became the head of the State Rangers Service, a law enforcement agency he founded and led for the next 20 years. His name was as feared as his Papa's and his Rangers only slightly less so!

After he had his fill of the State Capitol, Patrick O'Brian retired to his family ranch, Willow Springs, and settled down to raise cattle and horses. His brothers both married and gave Pat many loving nephews and nieces to bounce on his knee and spoil rotten.

Pat, Tim and Cal used the hoard of gold and silver coins left to them by their Father to fund many charitable works, the most important was the Shaman Tonho Memorial Hospital in the Capitol. It was a thousand bed teaching hospital that gained nationwide recognition. Patients paid only what they could afford and nobody was ever turned away because they could not pay. There, traditional Native healing procedures were as accepted as any other and resulted in numerous alternative healing procedures and medicines.

Tohno O'Brian married the grandaughter of Chief Bear Talon, they had two children, a son, Tonho O'Brian II and Patricia Maria O'Brian. The grandchildren gave Pat much enjoyment in his old age and young Tonho would sit on his Grandfather's knee and beg to be told stories about his and Tonho's war exploits. When the child learned of the first Tonho, he studied and dug every bit of information he could. He even went to the old tribal lands and spoke with the elders.

At the age of 12, the boy had become something of a mystic, the Indians would point to him and whisper, "SHAMAN". On his 15 th birthday, he had a dream, he knew what he was and what he had to do. He had a MISSION!

Chapter 3 – RETURN OF THE SHAMAN

Tonho O'Brian II finished high school and told his Papa that he was going to take some time to be with their native people before he went to university. He spent two years learning the ways of Native American Healers and Wise Men before going on in his education.

In the University, he was a man driven, his goal always before him. He knew the date he had to meet, there could be no delays. When his father asked him, all he would say was that the Great Spirit had given him a deadline.

He graduated number one in his class and, as he spoke at graduation, he said, "We all have goals, whether we know it or not. Mine have been set by the Great Spirit of my people before I was born. I can no sooner escape His task than I can fly to the moon. My time comes soon and with it will come great sorrow. I tell you all now, before it happens, dry your tears, lift up your heads and sing songs of joy for two spirits will become reunited into one. I can say nor more, but you all shall recognize my words when the event takes place."

Tonho O'Brian II went home to Willow Springs Ranch to be with his family. He was especially close to his Grandfather, Patrick O'Brian and the two took long walks together among the trees that shaded the spring and ranch. Patrick would come back, tear stained and wrung out.

Maria's daughter now ran the household, her Mother had passed away. She would scold Tonho because he upset his Grandfather and Tonho would smile and reply, No, Sister, he is not upset nor is he unhappy, he is joyful and in great expectation. One morning, Patrick failed to come downstairs for breakfast. They discovered him in his bed, he had died during the night in his sleep. There was a huge smile on his face that remained, even after death. In accordance with his wishes, he was buried on a hilltop, next to his Beloved Tohno. His Grandson, Tohno O'Brian II gave the eulogy,

"MY GRANDFATHER, PATRICK PETER O'BRIAN WAS A GOOD MAN, A MAN LOVED BY THE GREAT SPIRIT. HIS LIFE'S LOVE WAS MY OTHER GRANDFATHER, TONHO, SHAMAN. A LOVE NOT AS MAN AND WIFE, BUT RATHER THEY WERE A SOUL AND A SOUL TOGETHER. THEY WERE SEPARATED BY A WAR AND THEY ARE REUNITED IN DEATH BY THE GREAT SPIRIT. THERE WAS NO SHAME IN THEIR LOVE, IT WAS AS PURE AS THE WHITE DOVE. IN A SENSE, THE CHILD OF THEIR LOVE IS THIS STATE IN WHICH WE LIVE, THEIR LOVE BROUGHT OUR PEOPLES TOGETHER AS ONE AND, UNDER THE GREAT SPIRIT, THEY BOTH ARE NOW TOGETHER AGAIN IN PEACE AND LOVE."

THE END

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