Of course, I own none of these characters, but do love writing about them. I am new to fan fiction. I appreciate any reviews. I wrote this as a continuation of my previous story Valley of Shadow, but also rely a bit on griffonnage's The Memory of James - -which is excellent and if you haven't read it you should. Anyone who reads about the killing of James Boone can't help but be haunted by it. I realize I'm sort of playing with history and actual events, but this isn't a history course. It is just my imagination. I can't comprehend how strong people had to be to survive in this time period.

Prologue

Stepping out onto his porch in the early March dawn, Daniel Boone shouldered his pack and clutched the cool heft of Tick-licker. He stood on the top step, hesitating. He'd done a survey yesterday, and knew all was in order. He'd mended the south fence, the wood and kindling were piled high. There was enough game and salted pork to last for months. His house was well-supplied. Yet, still he hesitated. The task before him was one he dreaded, but that wasn't what held him back. He had a wandering soul and feet that itched to travel; the trouble was his heart was deeply rooted.

She stepped out the door. Although fully dressed and ready to greet the day, her copper-colored hair fell loose at her shoulders - the only hint that it was early. Setting aside his gun, and supplies, she walked into his open arms.

"Say it." She said.

"Say, what?" He teased her.

"Daniel, say it!" She said fiercely.

He kissed her and then, looking into her eyes he said, " I promise I'll be back." She relaxed in his arms, satisfied.

"You've never broken a promise to me yet."

"I don't aim to neither." He said. "I best head out. Mingo'll be waiting for me." She did not release her grip on him, but rather held onto him tighter.

"You don't have to do this." She said. "Not for me, anyways. It won't change anything." He smiled down at her. They'd been over this before.

"I know that. But there's something in me that has to pursue it. They hurt you and I can't let that go." She looked up at him. "But it's more than that and you know it. Twenty-three people are dead. Someone has to put an end to it."

"And it has to be you ." she said resigned. "I can understand your need to set things right. It's the kind of man you are, but it won't undo the hurt or bring Susannah back." She paused thoughtful. "Of course, if I were a man I'd be going with you." She smiled shyly at him.

He opened his eyes wide in surprise and pulling her in closer he said, "I'm kind of glad you're a woman." Kissing her again he said, "I don't know how long I'll be gone. Try not to worry. I'll send word when I can."

"I'll be here waiting, no matter how long." She said. He didn't move even then. He just stood with her in his arms, looking into her eyes. Finally, he leaned in and after kissing her deeply, he gathered his rifle, pack and bandoleer. He stepped off their porch, striding forward without looking back.