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Jason strode across the grounds, heading straight for Tor. Brad and Thomas were right behind him. Tor looked down at her twin. "Untie the mare. She's sweet but she's in season so watch her ears." She wrapped her hand around Eric and lifted him to her face. "You, my little Princeling, need to stay in your spot. Stay low. Don't move. Understand me?"

"What are you going to do?" he asked. His eyes searched her face as she lowered him to the saddle. "Don't do anything stupid."

"Me? I'm not going to do a damn thing." Her violet gaze cut a searing path across to her brothers. A storm of anger and pain brewed in their depths. "But you can never tell what they've got planned. Now stay low." She looked back to make sure he was settled in the fork before gathering the reins and swinging Idiot around to face her brothers.

Jason came to an abrupt halt when he was face with Idiot's head. The big stallion was heavy, with a broad chest, powerful legs and a big head. A bite from him would do more than bruise. And a bite was a very likely thing considering how flat the stud's ears were. He was very clearly pissed. The tight rein had him chewing the bit and pawing at the ground.

Tor glared at Jason. "You look like you're in good health, Big Brother. Pity."

Jason smiled. "You look better off than when you left. A big stallion and a pretty mare. How did you manage that?"

"I took the time to break a stud and killed a man who attempted to rob me. I took his horse as repayment." She eyed her other brothers as they edged away from Jason. Her left heel dug into the soft flesh of Idiot's side as she pulled the left rein to her leg. The mustang immediately complied and swung his butt around. This sent Thomas and Brad leaping back to avoid any flying hooves. "I'm not stupid!" Tor called over her shoulder. "Don't you come anywhere near me. You just stay back. I ought to let him kick the fire outta you."

She eased up on the reins and let the horse relax. Thomas snorted and Brad rolled his eyes. "Are you still sore about all that? You were the one who said you wanted a new stallion in the first place. And look! You got yourself a new stallion. And a pretty mare." He let his gaze roam over the chestnut mare with a sincere appreciation.

Tor scoffed. "I may have come out the victor, but I still have not forgiven or forgotten. And I never will."

Jason laughed. "Baby sister!" The words raised the hairs on the back of Tor's neck. "Calm down. It was all in good fun. One of the men must have forgotten to latch the gate after getting that mustang in there. And like any wild horse, he saw an opening and he took it. You can't blame us for that." He held his hands out in a placating manner as he approached Idiot.

Tor sat back and smirked, waiting for the inevitable. Idiot had an intense dislike of men. She let the reins go slack to give the stud his head. Sure enough, as soon as Jason's hands were within striking range, Idiot lashed out. He squealed, snaked his head out and clamped down on the Elder man's arm. The bite was over as quick as it had begun, but the strength of the stud's bite was not so fleeting. Jason's arm was bleeding freely. He leapt back, screaming like he was being murdered.

Idiot's ears were pinned flat against his scalp. He remembered this two-legger. This one was the one that ran him down, roped him and tied something heavy to him. This was the male that made him drag that heavy thing until he was exhausted and couldn't run anymore. Then that two-legger dragged him back, stuck him in a small pen, strapped something to his back, forced a cold, hard thing into his mouth and yanked on it. Then he put his current rider on his back and hit him to make him run.

At least his current rider, frustrating as she was at times, had earned his grudging respect. She treated him well. She gave him another mare. He snorted and rolled his eyes. The males in front of him were dangerous. He snaked his head out again, clamping another damaging bite around the biggest two-legger's upper arm.

Jason reeled back, blood flowing freely and staining his shirt. He was white as a sheet and shaking. More than likely from a combination of rage and pain. Tor smirked and wheeled Idiot. The big stud snorted and tossed his head but complied and turned on his back-end. He pranced away from the group of two-leggers, silently calling his mare to follow. The chestnut did as bid, half-dragging Mick along with her fast trot.

Idiot's ears swiveled this way and that as he took in his surroundings. They briefly flicked back to Tor when she leaned over and patted his neck, praising his behavior. He snorted and shook his head. But his attention was quickly drawn to the large gathering of horses just ahead. Both ears swiveled forward and he arched his neck to make himself look bigger as he caught scent of all the mares in the herd. His prance returned, having faded on the walk out. But when the current band's stallion pushed up against the boards and squealed a challenge, Idiot's entire demeanor changed. He squealed and returned the challenge, pawing the ground.

Tor rolled her eyes. "Oh calm down. He's on his way out." She looked over to her twin. "Drop the mare. She ground-ties. Go halter Ginger and put him with the geldings. I'll take care of him later today or tomorrow."

Mick's eyes doubled in size. "He'll run me down trying to get to this stud!"

"And this stud will kill you and then kill that one! Take the easy route. Get Larson's help. One of Jason's men said he was out here somewhere." She glared at him. "Move! Unless you want a real fight on your hands and digging a grave for Ginger."

"N-no," he said meekly. He dropped the chestnut mare's reins and jogged out to do as told. He found Larson, they got a halter along with a lead rope and stud chain, and worked quickly to get the big chestnut stallion out. It took nearly half an hour to drag the powerful stallion across the encampment to where all of Tor's geldings were penned.

When that was taken care of, Tor stepped out of the saddle and gently turned Idiot's head to her. She smiled and scratched under his chin. "We're home now. Back at my camp. It's time for some better tack. But for now, it's time for a well-deserved rest and reward."

Eric had pulled himself from his spot in the saddle. He was always amazed when he was nearly eye-level with Tor. It didn't happen often, which made each time all the more awe-inspiring. He stepped into her offered hand and was more than happy to settle between her breasts. Tor walked Idiot forward and tied him to a fence post. Within a minute, she had the saddle and bridle off and a soft rope halter around his head. She brushed him down, checked his feet and praised him when he cooperated.

"You're a good boy. Now give me good babies." She looked over her shoulder at Mick. "Untack the mare. She'll follow Idiot into the pasture." As Mick complied, Tor lead Idiot around to the gate. She opened it and undid the rope halter. He wasted no time running into the midst of the herd and sorting out who was top horse and who was a low-ranking. The mare was hot on his heels. Tor closed the gate and watched through the board slats.

It didn't take long until Idiot had established himself as the new lead stallion. The chestnut mare that had come all this way with him had a hidden fighting spirit and quickly established herself as lead mare. Idiot's approval of her didn't hurt her quest for a high ranking in the least. When all was said and done, the herd was grazing peacefully. Tor smiled. He would throw good foals.

She straightened and looked back to Mick. "Alright. Help me pick out a few of my geldings to sell. I've got those yearlings I want to sell, too. The sell pens should be ready soon. Let's get the horses ready to be moved."

Mick frowned. "Don't you want to rest? You know, check on your wagon, maybe take a bath?"

Tor scowled. "I have work to do. Work takes priority. I'll rest this evening when my work is done." She cupped Eric in her palm when she heard him calling to her. "What?" She sighed and tried to soften her voice and features when Eric flinched. "Did you need something?"

"Can't we get something to eat first?" he asked. "We haven't eaten since breakfast. I'm starved."

The Elder woman rolled her eyes. "Fine. Lunch and then we'll work." She looked to her twin, who was staring, absolutely enraptured with her human. "What? Oh. Mick, this is Eric. Eric, this is Mick. He's my twin."

"Since when do you care about humans?" Mick asked. "You've kicked more than one of the Posse across the camp!"

"After they tried to steal my food, break into my wagon, or various other issues, yes I have. But Eric knows better. Don't you?" She looked down to the human in her hand.

Eric nodded. "You feed me, so I don't need to steal. And it's not breaking in if you live there!"

The barest hint of a smirk curled Tor's lips. "He's smart, too. He's mine. Which means you have to keep an eye on him if I'm not around." She locked with the eyes that so resembled hers. "Got it?"

Mick frowned and looked between Tor and Eric. "If you say so. Just don't let Jason realize how important your little human is to you. He would probably do something awful."

Tor gently rubbed Eric's back with her finger. "I won't let him." She lifted Eric up and pressed a light kiss to the side of his face. "I'll kill him if he touches my human."

Chapter End Notes:

Chapter 18! It's a little short, but filled with goodness. Plus, this just felt like a natural stopping point. Let me know what you think!

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