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They came in the night breaking and smashing. I heard my ma put up a fight, but then came the shot and I heard her body hit the floor of our old cabin. Now I was crouched under the old foot bridge, the water although still ice cold from winter melt higher up in the mountains couldn’t compare to the chill I felt in my heart. These men meant to kill me stone cold dead. All because of my blood some said, but I knew the truth. This was no backwoods feud. These were government men. I had to get west to my Uncle Taran. He’d help me.

Tara Collins wasn’t use to the ways of civilized society the likes of which could be found in the valley bottoms that rivers meandered lazily through. She’d been raised high up in the hills of the Allegany Mountains where those bottom land rivers were first given birth to. It didn’t matter now how well she knew the byways and secret places of the mountains. No place was safe for her. She was to her knowledge the last of her kin left in the East. It was time to go west and make her own way.