Excerpt from Chap. 11 Clash of Empires

frontiersman

Shawnee camp north east of Duquesne

Liam, Wahta and Deganawidah were able to track the movement of Huritt and those with him but were not able to come into contact with them given the head start Huritt had.  They followed his trail with little trouble and finally today they spotted his camp nestled along a small creek in one of the many valleys northeast of Fort Duquesne in the Allegheny Mountains.  The camp was fairly large as there were contingents of Ojibway and Ottawa along with Huritt and his Shawnee.  ‘Definitely too many for us to take on,’ said Liam looking down at the camp venting his frustration by snapping a tree branch over his knee.  ‘Snake Slayer my brother, we need only wait,’ answered Wahta pointing to some movement in the camp below, ‘Huritt is most likely headed to the Duquesne fort but the others are not.  They will be heading to their homes in the land of the big lakes after selling their captives to the French at Detroit.’  ‘You are right my brother,’ answered Liam, ‘let’s go back further in the trees and make camp.’

That night Liam had trouble sleeping, he kept going over the coming showdown with Huritt and his mind just would not let go of the images.  Finally a couple hours before dawn he gave up and walked down to the creek at the bottom of the hill they were camped on.  He bent down and scooped up a handful of water and took a drink watching the reflected stars in the ripples caused by his hand.  He sat with his back up against the trunk of a pine and just stared up in the sky and gradually his mind emptied of the images keeping him awake.  He dozed off with his head bowed over his chest.  Suddenly a snort from something across the creek startled him awake.  It was dawn, a gray, eerie dawn with a swirling mist rising off the surface of the creek.  Through the mist Liam saw a buffalo watching him.  It gave another snort, pawed the ground and left.  Liam felt as if he was still asleep and that the scene unfolding before him was just a dream.  At first the scene was of Huritt leaving the camp and heading south.  He was devoid of any weapons but wore a buffalo head as a headpiece; its hide draped over him as a robe.  The scene then switched to a pleasant looking meadow carpeted in wildflowers that spread out in all directions ending at the beach of a large lake. A settler’s wagon then entered the meadow; the wife and children frolicking in the flowers.  The man driving the wagon looked at Liam with a pleading cry coming silently from his mouth.  A party of Delaware warriors rose up from the beach and made for the helpless family of settlers.   A lone buffalo sat atop a mound of sand pawing the ground and nodding his massive head.  The dream came to an end with the buffalo reappearing in the creek mist.  It looked at Liam, nodded once and vanished once more.  Liam came completely awake knowing that he was going to abandon the chase of Huritt and instead find his way to the large lake that lay a day’s march to the northwest.

Having told the others of the visit from his spirit brother, the three, after taking once last look at Huritt’s camp, started their march to the lake.  The first day of the trek was up and down heavily wooded hills.  Wahta was in the lead, his speed was uncanny for a man his size and his strides were long and graceful.  Liam followed about 5 yards behind Wahta, his bow in his left hand, a musket strapped over his shoulder and hanging at an angle across his back.  Deganawidah brought up the rear, pausing every so often to listen and watch for anyone who may be following.  The second day they came down out of the foothills to a flatter landscape that was a mix of small open meadows, marshy creeks and pockets of maple and oak.  They avoided most of the marshy areas until they came to one that was too large to skirt and so splashed their way across scaring up scores of turtles and frogs.  When they reached dry ground again Liam stopped and pointed ahead saying, ‘This is the place.  That mound of sand there in the distance is where I saw my spirit brother.’  They switched from a speedy approach to a more cautious one and headed to the mound.  From there they could see out over the meadow of wildflowers and in the distance a wagon was coming toward them.  It was still a mile or so away and the occupants were as of yet aware of the three men standing on the mound or of the converging band of Delaware coming at them from the woods that edge the beach.  Liam sprang from the mound leaping the distance to the bottom and was off racing at top speed pulling an arrow from his quiver with Wahta and Deganawidah right behind muskets at the ready.

The raiders saw the three pursuers and split their group sending three to attack the wagon and the five remaining warriors turned to face the new threat.  Liam shot one of them in the hip with an arrow let loose while he was on the run.  He continued toward the wagon nocking another arrow.  Wahta and Deganawidah each fired their muskets wounding one of the attackers in the shoulder and killing the other.  With no time to reload Deganawidah pulled out his tomahawk and Wahta his war club and charged the two remaining Delaware facing them.  Deganawidah was knocked to the ground with his opponent on top of him.  The Delaware brought his tomahawk down and struck Deganawidah in the temple, the blade cracking through the skull and into the brain.  Deganawidah was dead but the Delaware was also as his momentum had carried him onto the blade of Deganawidah’s tomahawk and it tore open his throat.  The two dead warriors were clasped in a sort of grim death embrace their blood saturating the ground around them.  Wahta simply barreled over his foe and then clubbed him on the side of his head caving in his skull.

At the wagon, Albert Jameson, a baker built more like a blacksmith, climbed down from the wagon seat grabbing his two muskets, ammo pouch and powder horn and knelt by the front wheel.  He handed the extra gun and ammo to his wife Margaret who along with their fifteen year old daughter Rebecca had crawled under the wagon.  When the three charging Delaware were in range Albert fired striking the closest one in the chest, the musket ball breaking through the ribcage, puncturing a lung and exiting out of his back.  Margaret quickly handed him the second musket and with no time to spare Albert shot the next brave point blank in the face.  He had just enough time to parry a tomahawk strike from the last raider with the barrel of the musket but the force of the charge knocked him flat on his back.  The Delaware made ready to strike a killing blow.  As he raised his arm he was knocked sideways and looking down he saw the arrow shaft protruding from under his armpit.  The arrow head ripped through his heart and he fell to the ground dead.   Albert, his face streaked with the blood from his second victim, heaved the body of the third one off of him, stood up and saw Liam and Wahta approaching.

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