"Invisible Empire" by KT Tunstall
Didn’t love me
I ain’t no fool
Didn’t love me
No, no, no, no.
Love, love you let me down
Making this too easy
Love, Love you let me down
Think you should be leaving
Love, love you let me down
Let me down
No you wont string me along
You better be moving on
Giddy on up
Giddy on out
The sky had only just darkened when the rest of the cowboys came to camp. Already the fire was going with dinner roasting wonderfully over it. As Daríus tended the food, he lifted his head to greet the men as they wandered over, sniffing hard at the delicious aroma that they were greeted with.
"My my that is a mighty fine smell!" remarked Dave as he took out his meal tray. He was flanked by Bill and Tommy, who eagerly clammored for a better position, nearly tripping over Árin as he slept underneath his blanket on his bedroll.
"What the devil… how’s he asleep?" asked Bill, gazing back at Árin who hadn’t at all been disturbed by the events.
"Oh you know, he’s had a long day," replied Daríus without looking away from the food.
"The day aint exactly over and he’s already asleep? You expecting him to actually make a good ranch hand?"
"Give him a break, he’s had a rough time of it today."
"Yeah, Bill," Tommy agreed, patting the man on the back as he sat down next to him. "He’s only a kid."
"Kid? He’s seventeen. He’s practically a man."
Daríus lifted his gaze and peered at the rough-beared man with hard eyes and long, tawny hair. In a calm, drawn out voice, Daríus said, “He was bit by a water moccasin, remember? Not everyone can withstand getting bitten by one of those things and hobble on like everything’s okay.”
"Yeah well when I was thirteen I got my foot stood on by a cow an’ that didn’t slow me down or anything."
"Sure it did!" Tommy laughed and shook his head. "I remember you hollerin’ real good for about a week or two, foot all in bandages and making us get things for you. Yeah you sure were an inspiration to us all."
As Daríus and Dave snickered in amusement at this revelation, Bill shot his friend a loathing scowl and hissed, “All right you pack of coyotes jus’ ‘cause that happened doesn’t mean that the kid has to have it easy. This isn’t some city, this is the open territory. One false step could mean your death and what a grisly, foul-fated, bloody and—”
"He gets it," Daríus interjected with a gentle raise of his voice and a warning glare from his vivid blue eyes. "And you’ll see, he’s tough all right. I know it."
Daríus got up, leaving the food in Tommy’s care as he went over to Árin, who had rolled onto his side so his back was facing everyone. As he put his hand on Árin’s shoulder, Bill was heard to say, “He better be. It gets mighty interesting from here on out.”
"I know," Árin whispered fiercely, opening his eyes and gazing angrily at the horizon. "I’m not an idiot."
"Don’t let ol’ Bill get to you. He means well, at least I think he does. You got bit by a poisonous snake and yeah, it’ll affect you more than the others. Hell if it had been me I’d be right where you are."
"No you wouldn’t. You’re way tougher than me."
Daríus grinned at his young friend and let his head fall back some as he laughed, “N’aw I wouldn’t go so far to say that. I might be twice your age but I’m nowhere near strong yet as far as my water talent is concerned. Now, your leg is healing just fine and tomorrow you’ll be fit to ride. The only reason you’re tired is that your body was working real hard to get rid of that poison.”
The glare remained as Árin’s determination set in. “I hate being weak.”
Daríus bent down and wrapped an arm around Árin’s chest, holding him for a brief moment as he lay his head against his arm. “You’re anything but weak, Árin. We are all flesh and blood though, and each of us has things that can hinder us, but we don’t let it slow us down. Please, don’t beat yourself up over this. You’ll be far more rested than any of them and it’ll show.”
Árin clasped Daríus’ hand and held tight to him, finally relinquishing his melancholic thoughts. “I just don’t want to let you down.”
"You won’t." Daríus smiled and nudged Árin’s shoulder with his head, remarking playfully, "It was that damn snake that let me down!"
Árin laughed and rolled onto his back, pushing Daríus away and grinning brightly. He was back now in spirit and soon his health.
'Here's some water; might help yer throat there, Hamish,' said Hank as he came over to the bench where Hamish had been sitting with his head in his hands.
Looking up in surprise, Hamish took the cup and smiled gratefully at him. After taking a nice long drink, Hamish cleared his throat and said, ‘Some first impression, eh?’
'Not too bad,' replied Hank quietly as he looked out at the paddock where the horses were grazing. Then he turned a smile at Hamish and said, 'You did a mighty fine job at staying on your horse though.'
'Which time?' asked Hamish dryly. 'When I fell out of the saddle or when Ajax took off?'
'No, I mean it. A lot of new riders would have fallen off when the horse rears. You stayed in the saddle and kept with him, even when he jumped over that small creek there.'
Hamish frowned and looked at the water in his cup. ‘I didn’t do it out of brilliance. I just hung on for dear life.’
Chuckling, Hank leaned forward and rest his elbows upon his knee and grinned at Hamish. ‘Sometimes that’s all you gotta do. How are you holding up?’
'Chust fine,' replied Hamish, though secretly he was worried about any further lessons that Hank would be attending if they were all destined to go this horribly.
'Glad to hear it, Hamish. Say, do you know a place around here that isn't too fancy? Between airline food and whatever that boxed stuff was from earlier, I really would go for something downhome like. I was figuring that since I have to go tomorrow morning that we can talk some more if you have any other questions about ranch life or the rodeo.'
Hamish looked at him and could not only see the loneliness in this friendly cowboy’s eyes but also hear the subtle plea for companionship. It had to be tough being dragged all over Britain as nothing more than a side-show and having no one to talk to beside his horse. Hamish knew that cowboys tended to be loners, but Hank seemed more like a man who enjoyed the presence of at least one person he could talk to. It flattered Hamish to know that this American cowboy, someone whose talents in the ring he admired more than the star, was shy at asking for companionship. Perhaps not all Americans were loud and showy as he had always been led to believe.
'Aye, I know a few places,' replied Hamish cheerfully, immediately seeing Hank perk up some. Hamish knew that the Stag's Nest would be a wonderful place to go to with fantastic food, but Hamish knew that if he brought Hank there he wouldn't get to talk to his new friend on account that everyone in Lochdubh would want to meet 'a real American cowboy'. Hamish sipped the water, feeling selfish in wanting Hank all to himself. He suggested, 'What would ye say tae trying the pub?'
Hank grinned at him and pulled at the brim of his hat. ‘That sounds just fine! Lead the way, Hamish Macbeth!’
'I don't embarass you none, do I?' asked Luke as he stepped beside Elijah Marshall as he looked over the town from the shade of the tree.
Elijah glanced at him and smirked. ‘Now why would a crazy critter like yourself, who was on the run from the law for years suddenly finds himself elected town marshal be an embarassment to me?’
'Well, when you put it like that I'm guessin' you do find it a bit, insulting.'
Elijah chuckled softly and shook his head. There was arrogance slipping through that nearly washed away the earnest desire of Luke Hagen to be accepted by his long-time friend. Some things just never would change in a man, but Elijah wasn’t worried about this attribute nearly as much as he was over the possibility of Luke getting found out by some bigger thug looking to steal away the quaint, country life that Luke had made for himself in the town. Whether that was to happen soon or in the distant future, Elijah didn’t know. All that he did know was that there was good blood between them now and that past wrongs had been forgiven. All there was to do now was simply move on.
'No, I don't actually,' replied Elijah quietly. He looked at Luke again and saw the astonishment in his quiet brown eyes. 'You see, for the first time in many years, we can stand together with no quarrel between us and nothing to fear from justice.'
'We're on the same side now, you reckon?'
'You know, Luke, I believe that you've always known the side to be on. I'm glad to see that you finally made it here.'
Brad Pitt as Tristan Ludlow in Legends Of The Fall (1994)
Brad Pitt in “Legends Of The Fall”