Sundering of Empire – the beginning bits

Fort_Randolph1

Sundering of Empire

Book 2 – The Mallory Saga

Prologue

Mallory Town – February 1767

Reverend James Shields closed his Bible, raised his hands to the ceiling of the newly constructed church building and offered a benediction, praising God for the work He has begun in this frontier village.  With the French no longer a threat and the pacification of the native tribes in the area, Mallory Town was growing by leaps and bounds.  New settlers were arriving every month, some with plows, others with a trade and some with only the clothes on their backs, but all with the need for salvation. As he stood in the door to greet the parishioners as they left the church, he could not help but notice who was once again not in attendance and resolved to have another talk with Daniel Mallory and Liza Clarke about their wayward brother, Liam.  He knew it would be futile to confront Liam or the unmarried mother of his children, Rebecca.  His last attempt seemed only to further the distance between him and Liam.  He could recall the last words Liam spoke as he was so discourteously ushered out of Liam and Rebecca’s cabin, ‘I will worship who I will and where I will, so save your damned judgmental preaching.’  ‘Judgmental indeed’, Reverend Shields thought to himself, ‘who was this ignorant backwoodsman to jeopardize the souls of his children?  We shall see how soon he and his sinful woman come crawling, begging for forgiveness once I start sermonizing about them.’

Boston – The Green Dragon Tavern – 1767

The patrons had gathered for a pint or two and for news and rumors concerning Parliament’s views on the rights of The Crown to tax the colonies without first getting consent from them.  In 1765, Parliament passed The Stamp Act as a means to help recover the costs of The French & Indian War.  Following the lead of Virginia, many of the other colonies banded together and declared that The Stamp Act was illegal, as it was promulgated without the consent of the taxed.  Parliament repealed the act in 1766 but insisted they had the right to tax the colonies and in 1767 passed The Townshend Act which put a duty on tea, glass, lead, paper and paint.  An outraged Sam Adams, a politically active member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives slammed his mug down on the table exclaiming to all that, ‘this is just another example of Parliament and the King exercising a right that they do not possess.  Taxation of British subjects, even those in the Colonies, without representation is unconstitutional and must be rejected and repealed.’

The reaction of Parliament and King George III to this and subsequent actions in the colonies would further widen the gap between the Crown and his subjects and eventually lead to the garrisoning of more British troops to quell the unrest.  The Boston Massacre in 1770, The Boston Tea Party in 1774 and finally the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were but a portion of the fuel that fed the flames of revolution.

Mallory Town – April 1767

Rebecca tried to stifle a groan when she got up from the bed.  She was pretty certain that she was pregnant but this time seemed different than when she was carrying the twins, Jack and Caleb.  With them she didn’t have the discomfort of morning sickness but for the last week she felt ill every day when she awoke.  Not wanting to disturb or worry Liam, she hid, as best she could, the nausea and dizziness, but this morning he woke up to her groaning.  ‘Are you alright?’ Liam asked as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.  ‘Oh, I’m sorry. Yes, my dear, I’m fine,’ Rebecca answered, ‘must be a little sore from chasing the twins.  You go back to sleep for a bit.  I’ll get breakfast going.’  She got up and after checking on the twins, grabbed a bucket and headed outside to get water from the well.  About halfway there she doubled over; fell to her knees and vomited.  As she started to get up she felt a pair of hands around her helping her to get up.  ‘Oh my, Rebecca,’ said Liza with a smile on her face, ‘are you pregnant?’  ‘I believe I am, though I didn’t have the morning sickness with the twins,’ she replied.  ‘Well you were fortunate,’ Liza said, ‘every morning for a month or so with both my children.  You look a little pale.  Why don’t you sit for a minute?  I’ll fill your bucket.’

Donehogawa’s village along the Mohawk River – July 1767

Donehogawa, venerated chief of The Wolf Clan was dead.  He died peacefully in his sleep with his wife Onatah beside him.  Wahta and Pierre kept vigil outside the lodge letting Onatah have their last moments together be private.  He had survived a plague of dysentery a couple years ago but it had left him in a weakened condition that he never fully recovered from and a summer fever was too much for his body to combat with any success.  The elders of the Bear and Turtle clans arrived to prepare the body for burial.  Donehogawa’s body was carried to the village’s communal longhouse, entering through the east facing door and placed with his feet facing the western door of the longhouse.  Once the words of condolence were completed, he was carried out the western door to the freshly dug grave.  The people of the village all attended the burial of a man who was beloved for his wisdom and compassion and so the family of the deceased would be taken care of during the 10 day mourning period; at the end of which a large meal would be prepared for the village and during which Donehogawa’s family would give away all of his possessions.   To Wahta they presented Donehogawa’s favorite war lance; to Pierre, his medicine pouch.  They also gave to Wahta the chief’s finest wolf pelt to give to Otetiani to remind him of his wolf clan father.

Chapter 1

Discord

Mallory Town

Thursday October 15, 1767

Liam gazed down on the still sleeping form of Rebecca.  The pre-dawn light showed the outline of her extended belly.  ‘Only a few months and we’ll have another child,’ Liam whispered, ‘you sleep a bit longer.  I’ll do the breakfast today.’  He climbed out of bed and grabbing his tunic, he crept out of the room.  He could hear the twins beginning to stir but decided to leave them be until they made it known they were unhappy.  He stepped outside and took in a lungful of the chilled early morning air.  Stooping to pick up the water bucket, he noticed the figure of a rather large man sitting up against the well.  ‘Wahta, my brother,’ exclaimed Liam, ‘it is indeed a happy sight that greets me this morning.’  ‘Snake slayer, I was wondering how long I would have to wait for a cabin dweller to awaken.’ Wahta replied, ‘I was getting lonely with only a pair of eyes watching me.  Who lives in the god house, watching me the whole time I was sitting here?’  ‘Imagine it was the preacher, Mr. Shields.  He takes a lot of interest in what happens in the village, especially the arrival of a savage like yourself,’ chuckled Liam.  ‘I don’t like him much.  He’s too full of himself; reminds me of some of the British officers we worked for.  Come, you can help me with the boys while I make breakfast.  Rebecca will be so pleased to see you.’

During breakfast Wahta retrieved his saddlebag and removed the wolf pelt.  As he handed it to Liam he bowed his head and said, ‘Receive this Otetiani from your Wolf Clan father.’  Liam, holding back the tears, took the pelt and replied, ‘Thank you, Wahta my brother.  I wondered why it is you are carrying my father’s war lance.  I reckon he and Colonel Washington are the two finest men a man can meet and call them their friend.  How is Pierre?  I was kind of saddened he didn’t come with you.’  Wahta burst into a big grin and chuckled, ‘Pierre said to tell you that he is getting too old for long journeys but I do not think that is the reason.  He has taken the Abenaki woman, Teeyeehogrow’s widow, as his wife and is content with her comforting ways.  He also said to tell you to listen to the buffalo dreams.’  Liam clapped his brother on the back and said, ‘When I’m here with my family the buffalo does not visit.  He only comes to me when I am troubled and except for that overzealous preacher, I am a very happy man.’  Wahta rose from the table and with a grin, said, ‘I must go find Mulhern just to hear the little Irishman talk.  I have missed that.’

Sunday October 18

It had been a bit of a struggle for Reverend James Shields since he arrived in Mallory Town last December.  He arrived on the frontier with a mandate from his home church in Marblehead, MA. to bring to the western settlers the beliefs and tenets of the Puritan ethic, though in his mind, the mandate came from God and could not thusly be denied or ignored.  There were many people in this settlement who had gone too long without the guidance of Scripture and more importantly, the guiding hand of a Godly man.  His sermons as of late had been thinly veiled attacks on Liam and Rebecca and anyone else who would not bow to the will of God.  The one he delivered last Sunday was aimed at the merchants who did business with flagrant sinners.  For the Reverend James Shields this was not only a battle for souls, this was a battle for control of the life of the village; a village destined to be an example of the Puritan ethic, not the godless frontier ethic of the founders.  He was on his way to the church to prepare for the service due to begin in two hours, ‘still time to add some more grief to the Mallory’s’, he mumbled.  Across the village square he noticed Henry along with his son, Thomas, and young Samuel Webb preparing to go hunting.  ‘Ignoring the Sabbath, are we Mr. Clarke?’ Shields said to no one, ‘I saw you pretending you didn’t see me.  Well, Mr. Clarke, a time of reckoning lies in our future.  Mark my words, but I must take it slowly.  I think breaking the Sabbath just became a far more serious sin.’

‘Okay boys,’ Henry said to Thomas and Samuel, ‘you head on over to the gate.  Timothy should be there too.  I’ll meet you there in a few minutes.  Need to speak to your Ma, Thomas.’  Thomas just shook his head and said, ‘Come on Samuel.  My Pa wants to grab a smooch with my Ma.’  Liza stuck her head out of the door and taking Henry’s hand said, ‘Sorry, no smooching on the Sabbath.  What would our dear preacher say about that?’  ‘You’re likely to find out if you go to church this morning,’ replied Henry, ‘Shields saw me as he headed over to the church.  I reckon he’s working up a Sabbath breaking sermon just for me, but you’ll have to listen to it.’  Henry smiled at his wife and kissed her.  When Liza broke off the embrace she put her hands on either side of his face and very intently said, ‘Reverend Shields is no laughing matter.  That bit last week about doing business with sinners, what if that type of thinking takes hold?  It sets a very bad precedence if you ask me.’  ‘I know,’ said Henry, ‘time for a town meeting I think.  Talk to Daniel and see what he thinks.  I’ll have a word with Timothy.’

Tuesday October 20

Bartholomew Morgan, born of solid Puritan stock in Salem, MA., finished sweeping the nightly deposit of dust and dirt from the steps leading to his General Store.  As he turned to go into the store, he heard Micah Townsend calling out to him, ‘Mr. Morgan, a word if I may?’  ‘Why, certainly, Micah.  What can I do for you?’ replied Morgan.  ‘It’s what you can do to help our community resist the ways of the devil,’ said Micah with a feral smirk, ‘with your impeccable Puritan heritage, going back to Edmund Morgan, may he be at rest in the bosom of Christ, you should be outraged at the blatant sins of Liam Mallory and his Jezebel?  Have you given any thought to what Reverend Shields said about doing business with the evil doers?’  ‘I have, Micah, I have,’ answered Morgan, his hand stroking his chin in thought, ‘it will be a hard thing, but God’s will be done.  May this be the way to their salvation?’  ‘Ah, good day to you, then,’ said Micah, ‘I will leave you to your daily commerce.’

Micah strode over to the church where he knew Reverend James Shields would be watching and waiting; ‘watching over everything that goes on in this village and waiting for my report,’ thought Micah, ‘well I mustn’t keep my new master waiting too long.’

Reverend James Shields opened the door to the chapel and bade Micah to enter.  He led him to his office, a small room behind the chapel.  Offering Micah the only chair, he went and stood by the small window that gave Shields a fine view of the village center.  ‘So, how did your talk go with our good brother, Mr. Morgan?’ asked Shields.  Micah cleared his throat and replied, ‘Just as you thought.  He sees this as the Will of God and he will abide with that.  However, I’m not sure the others will be so easy to convince.’  Shields, his gaze set firmly at the sight of Rebecca, now six months pregnant, making her way to Morgan’s General Store, turned suddenly to Micah and replied in a stern voice, ‘You let me worry about the others.  You just do as you’re told.  Keep up your subtle sowing of discord.  The Lord God will reward you for your devotion, my son, and so might I.  Yes, so might I.’

Bartholomew Morgan saw The Will of God being made manifest as he watched Rebecca enter the store.  ‘Good morning, Mr. Morgan,’ said Rebecca as she let her hood down, ‘I find myself in need of a few yards of linen.  Those boys seem to grow overnight.’  ‘I am sorry, Miss Rebecca, truly I am,’ stammered Morgan, ‘but I am duly bound to God’s sacred word and must refuse you service of any kind.  So, if you will please leave and may you come to see the grace God has for you.’  The immediate shock Rebecca felt was fleeting and she was able to compose herself before answering, ‘I see.  So it is the will of your God that you cannot sell me a few yards of linen.  Seems a trifling matter for God to be so involved, but as you said, you are duly bound to James Shields, so I will leave until such time as common sense returns.’

Rebecca made it to Henry and Liza’s cabin and collapsed on the bench outside the front door.  A sudden pain shot through her swollen abdomen and her gasp brought Liza to the door.  Before Liza could even ask, Rebecca, unable to hold back the tears any longer, sobbed to Liza what had just happened.  She continued after a moment to regain her composure, ‘and that’s not all of it.  Seems I’m the cause for many a gossip and wary glances.  The looks of pity and even hate; it just doesn’t seem real.  What have I done to merit such feelings?’  She held her stomach as another wave of pain struck.  ‘Rebecca, dear, we need to get you home and to bed.’ said Liza.  She then turned back into the cabin, ‘Thomas, go and find your Uncle Liam.  I think I heard your father say something about clearing some land south of town.  Tell him to get home quick, I think Rebecca is in labor and it’s way too early for that.’

Liza put her arm around Rebecca’s shoulder and noticed Susan Townsend walking toward Jameson’s bakery, ‘Can you walk to your cabin?’ she asked.  ‘Yes, the pain has gone.  I am worried though, the baby can’t be born yet.’ Rebecca replied.  ‘Now don’t you be fretting, let’s get you home and comfortable,’ Liza said as she waved her free arm to get Susan’s attention.

Susan, being the wife of Micah Townsend, found that she was lately being torn in two between her husband’s ambition and what she felt deep down about the manner in which her husband and the Reverend Shields were ridiculing Liam and Rebecca.  She knew Rebecca to be one of the sweetest people she had ever met and though Susan felt that Liam was somewhat gruff in his manner, he was no more so than any other man, especially one who had lived his whole life on the frontier.  Micah would not be gainsaid, however, having coming under the spell of Reverend Shields, a man who Micah was drawn to because he was ruthless in pursuit of his goals and in the manner he controlled people, just like General Jeffrey Amherst, his former commander in Quebec.  One night, after Micah came home drunk, Susan heard him speaking to himself as he fumbled around getting undressed for bed, ‘Old Reverend Shields’ gonna take care of me once we get rid of the Mallory’s.  He says for me to keep sowing that discord among the villagers, spreading the goodness of Reverend Shields and King George and when we get control of the village, I’ll be his right hand man.’  Yes, Micah has changed a lot since he entered the army but I have not, thought Susan to herself as she headed over to see what Liza wanted.

Thomas sped through the southern gate and headed for the field being cleared; about half of a mile from the gate.  He thought he should have ridden his horse from the stable but knew he could run the distance in the same amount of time it took to saddle his mare.  He found his uncle with Wahta and Mulhern working to secure a chain around a tree stump and then attaching the other end to a pair of harnessed work horses.  ‘Uncle Liam,’ Thomas called out after catching his breath, ‘My ma says to get home quick.  Aunt Becky is in labor.’  Without a word being spoken, Mulhern unhitched one of the Shire horses and Liam clambered aboard and whipped the animal into an immediate trot.  He approached the cabin, his mind in turmoil.  As he dismounted he heard Rebecca scream causing the horse to shy away and gallop off toward the stable.  Bursting through the door, he saw Rebecca being tended to by Liza, Susan and Margaret Jameson.  She saw Liam and tried to usher up a smile but another spasm tore through her stomach and she yelled out once again.  Liza walked over to Liam, took his hand and led him back outside.  ‘She’s in a bad way brother.  If the baby is born it will be needing a lot of care but we’ll do the best we can.  For now, bring us another pail of water and then please stay outside.  I see Wahta and the sergeant coming along, they will keep you company.’

The baby when it arrived three hours later was stillborn and with it followed a torrent of blood that could not be staunched.  Rebecca looked up weakly, her face pale and sweat covered and said, ‘Liam.’  Margaret waited until Liza had removed the stillborn child from the room and then went out to prepare Liam before letting him in the cabin.  Sitting next to him she took his hand and said, ‘The baby was stillborn.’  Liam gasped and put both of his hands on his head and asked, ‘and Rebecca?’  ‘We can’t stop the bleeding,’ Margaret replied, her tears now starting, ‘she is leaving us, Liam.’  Liam entered and went to Rebecca’s side, kneeling on the floor, his hand caressing her face.  She opened her eyes, smiled and weakly said, ‘Kiss me; one more time.’  Liam placed his lips on hers, felt her quiver slightly and then she was gone.

They held the funeral the next day.  Rebecca was buried along with the child between the graves of her father and Liam’s parents.  Daniel presided over the graveside service; there being no thought at all to include Reverend Shields.  The burial was attended by most of the village as Rebecca was much loved by the older settlers as well as the new ones.  However, a notable portion of the villagers were conspicuous by their absence.  These were the families who most adhered to the Will of God as pronounced by the good reverend.  When Daniel finished his prayer, the crowd slowly dispersed, many of the villagers coming up to Liam and offering words of condolence, many knowing that the fine quality of their words were falling on deaf ears.  Finally, Liam was alone by the grave, only Wahta stayed nearby.  The sound of someone approaching caused Liam to spin around and said with undisguised hatred in his voice, ‘That is far enough preacher, I have no need of your comfort or words.  Be gone from my sight.’  Shields stopped, held his hand out in a peaceful gesture and started to say, ‘Liam, I only…’  ‘I said none of your words.  Be gone before I help you meet your god,’ Liam snarled as he pulled his knife from the sheath on his belt.  Wahta grabbed Liam and pulled him back and being careful not to impale himself, he took Liam’s wrist, shaking the knife to the ground.

Reverend Shields seeing he was out of danger snarled his reply, ‘This is not over Mallory,’ and then strode away to where Micah was waiting. ‘My dear Micah, I think it is time to step up your activities.  It won’t take much to push Liam into a fit of uncontrollable anger.  Just be sure you are ready for him and make sure he is dead.’   ‘I’ll be ready for him, make no mistake about that,’ replied Micah.  ‘Just be sure he is dead.  We are close now to having this village in our palms,’ said Shields, ‘like clay to the potter, ready to be molded to fit our vision.  A village totally beholden to God and the Crown and a village beholden to me; to us, for the prosperity sure to come and of which we will take our fair share.’

Micah Townsend, former Major on staff with Governor Amherst, had been a model soldier and officer during his time in the army.  His rise in the ranks were due solely on merit as he performed whatever tasks he was assigned with unfailing success, often above and beyond expectations.  When Amherst was recalled, Micah was devastated.  He greatly admired the general and his style of overhanded leadership but could not bear the thought of going back to England, so he resigned his commission and joined his wife Susan with her family in Mallory Town.  He recognized almost immediately those same qualities in the Reverend James Shields and sought his patronage.  For a week he followed Liam, looking for the chance to draw him into a fight, but Liam was always with Wahta or Mulhern; most of the time with both of them.  It was improbable that a confrontation would happen during either the day or when the odds were stacked against him.  Changing his tactic, he was hidden in the night time shadows of the barn that sat in the middle of the village square, watching Liam’s cabin door.

The buffalo dreams had returned.  Liam rarely got more than a couple hours of sleep a night since Rebecca’s death and it was beginning to show.  Each day he was more surly and quick to anger.  Tonight he told Wahta and Mulhern to fuck off and leave him alone.  Not sure he was able to deal with the twins, he had asked Liza and Daniel to take care of them until he was able.  He rose from his pallet knowing that sleep was futile to chase after and decided to walk the perimeter of the town.

Micah heard the shouts coming from Liam’s cabin and saw the Mohawk and the Irishman leave and head toward Mulhern’s cabin on the other side of the square.  This could be the night, he thought, wait a couple hours and see if he takes one of his walks; this time without his companions.  He pulled his collar up against the nightly chill and waited.  When he saw Liam start walking he strode out of the buildings shadow and followed Liam, quickening his pace to catch up to him.

Liam wasn’t like any foe that Micah had ever faced.  He was aware of Micah before he had even gotten out of the shadow and his hand was on the hilt of is knife as Micah approached.  ‘Mallory,’ Micah called out, his knife out and ready for the plunge he was about to make, ‘sorry about your wife dying, must be hard on your bastard children losing their ma like that.’  Liam wasn’t like any foe that Micah had ever faced and he would not have another chance.  Liam’s hand flashed out with a speed that Micah could not believe and the razor sharp knife sliced through Micah’s throat cutting through arteries and windpipe.  Liam jumped back to avoid the squirting blood and Micah’s falling body.  For a moment Liam just stared at the knife in his hand and tried to stop the trembling.  Looking around for a place to move the body he saw Wahta running over.  Together they carried the corpse over to the rear of the tavern and laid it behind a stack of empty barrels.  Liam, the adrenaline slowly giving way to the reality of the situation, looked at Wahta and said, ‘My brother, I cannot ask you to go with me but I need to leave here tonight.’  Wahta replied, ‘I will go wake the little Irishman and meet you by the canoes.  You go speak with your brother.’

Daniel woke to the feeling of someone’s hand over his mouth.  He could smell the unmistakable odor of blood on his brother’s hand.  He got out of bed being careful not to disturb Deborah and followed Liam outside.  ‘What is the trouble, Liam?’ asked Daniel as he glanced at the blood stained tunic and sleeve.  ‘I have killed Micah Townsend.  He called my children bastards and spoke of Rebecca, and then he came at me with his knife, so I killed him.  The good preacher told me this wasn’t over yet.  That may as well be, but I won’t be around for any more of it.  I’m afraid I’ll be leaving you and the others in a tough spot and with the well-being of my boys.  Tell Liza I am sorry and that I’ll write when I’m far enough away.’

Daniel grabbed his brother in a farewell embrace and said as he pulled back, ‘If I were you I’d head to Two Birds to get supplied and then go west; find that buffalo herd you keep dreaming about.  Don’t worry about us or your children, little brother.  I pray The Almighty to keep you safe and that you find peace.’

Fort Pitt

Liam nodded his thanks, turned and headed to where Wahta and Mulhern waited with the canoe.  He clambered aboard and they pushed off and silently glided into the current of the river.  The nearly full moon provided enough light for them to navigate by; their three paddles barely making a ripple and within a few hours they were tying up outside of Fort Pitt, home of their friend, Jimmy Ouellette, owner of The Two Birds Tavern and proprietor of the largest trading post on the frontier.  Wahta and Mulhern headed over to Two Birds’ warehouse to begin loading up supplies while Liam went to the tavern to wake Jimmy up.   Liam recounted the events to Two Birds while they walked to the warehouse; his only comment was to groan when Liam mentioned Rebecca’s death.  Two Birds pulled out his key ring but when he went to fit the key into the padlock, he noticed it was already unlocked and his warehouse door wide open.  He turned to Liam and said, ‘I take it that my favorite Irishman is traveling with you?’  Mulhern emerged with a sack of flour and retorted, ‘Tis amazing what skills come back to you after all these years.’

They loaded the canoe with as much as they could and were readying to depart.  Two Birds pulled Liam aside and said, ‘It appears that things may heat up between the British and the colonists and from what I’ve heard from you and others is that the good Reverend Shields is in deep with the British.  If I send word to Daniel, do you think he would pass it on further east? I dare not trust the army post and Colonel Washington will want to hear about doings here at Fort Pitt.  The army has been taking in way more ammo and ordinance than what they need for this garrison.  My guess is that it is for Fort Detroit or even worse, that ammo could be for the Delaware, Mingo and Shawnee.’   Liam nodded his head and replied, ‘I’m sure Daniel will find someone to deliver the message.  The tribes have been nice and peaceful but that’s sure to change as more settlers push west.  The Shawnee in particular won’t take kindly to settlements along the Ohio.’  With that, Liam boarded the canoe and the trio headed out toward the Ohio River.  Their plan would see them follow the Ohio then head inland, north from the mouth of the Licking River and through Shawnee territory.  Their immediate destination was the area around La Grand Traverse in the Michigan Territory as Mulhern had made it known that he wanted to visit and possibly settle among the huge white pine trees that stretched for miles in a seeming endless forest.  After that nothing was set though Liam still dreamt of the buffalo and the thought of finding the herd in his dreams was a strong factor in his ability to cope with his tormented mind.

Mallory Town

The uproar in the village over the apparent murder of Micah Townsend was further fed by Reverend Shields’ decision to have Micah’s body on full display outside of the church despite the protestations of Susan and her family.  He also announced that he would be giving the eulogy at noon the following day.  Daniel, Henry and Timothy tried in vain to have the body enclosed in the casket but Shields declined to even see them, sending word for them to be sure to attend the funeral.

The church was full and was abuzz with the whispering voices of the villagers; some of them looking pointedly at the group who just entered as the Mallory clan came in and sat themselves in the last row of pews.  Reverend Shields entered a few moments later, stopping first at the casket and kneeling before it, his hands clasped in a prayerful manner.  The crowd, almost as one bowed their heads and uttered an ‘Amen’ when Shields stood up.  He then climbed the short staircase that led to the raised pulpit; he gazed down on his flock, opened his Bible and began to speak, ‘My children, it is always a sad occasion when a fellow soldier in Christ’s Army is taken from us.  How much more so when the taking is in such a brutal, savage manner?  Micah Townsend was a soldier of Christ and before that he was a loyal and brave soldier for our earthly master, King George III.  When I came here with a mandate from God and from the King to turn this frontier into a bastion for Christ and England, I came with the intent to rid this village of sin and to purge it of its sinful leadership.  Micah Townsend shared those goals and worked tirelessly to help bring them to fruition but now this kind and loyal man will not see the results of his work for God. No, he was cruelly and shamefully slain by the chief of sinners, Liam Mallory!’  At this he slammed his fist down on the pulpit and the crowd began screaming out for justice.  Daniel stood and yelled for attention but the noise of the assembled masses drowned him out.  Thomas was standing just inside the door and had his father’s pistol, which he fired into the air to get everyone’s attention.  At the sound of the pistol fire the church became quiet and Daniel began walking up the aisle toward the podium, talking as he went, ‘Liam did not murder Micah Townsend.  It was a tragic event to be sure but Micah taunted Liam and then attacked him, interestingly the attack came when my brother was alone which was highly unusual.  Sounds more like that Micah was stalking my brother.’  ‘A fine speech,’ responded Shields clapping his hands, ‘one worthy of a loving brother, but if he is innocent, why did he run?  If he is innocent, he would have found justice here, if he is innocent.’  ‘Justice here?’ countered Daniel, ‘after you’ve driven your flock of sheep into a pack of ravening wolves?  Your mandate, as you call it, is nothing more than maneuvering for power no matter how you coat it with scripture or loyalist fervor.’  With that, Daniel turned and headed to the door, the rest of his family and friends followed him but the majority stayed in the church and shouted out, ‘Murderer’, ‘Coward’ , ‘You’ll all burn in hell’.  Reverend James Shields with a smile on his lips closed his Bible and headed down the staircase.  Once again he paused at the casket and said, ‘Rest in peace my dear Micah, you did well, my son.’

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