Spanish Encounter, III

Juan de Ulibarri strode through the Spanish camp in full regalia, helmet and breastplate gleaming in the mountain sunlight. He stopped abruptly beside the fire where Elizio and his compadres were crouched. They sprang to their feet.

Ulibarri gestured impatiently for them to relax. “The Apaches wish peace,” he said. He nodded to Elizio. “You did well to come for me.” His eyes swept the other men. “He kept them from the camp until I was informed,” he said. “Even with those who seek peace, it is well to be cautious.” He nodded abruptly to Elizio and swept on.

“It is an honor,” Elizio’s friend Tomás murmured behind him.

Elizio turned. “I told them to stay because I was afraid,” he said guiltily. “I thought they might capture me if they came farther. I didn’t know they truly meant peace.”

Tomás chuckled. “You think like el capitán general,” he said.

Elizio stared down the path that Ulibarri had taken toward his tent. “I was afraid,” he said again.

Copyright © 2016 Loretta Miles Tollefson

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