Acknowledgement for Clash

Acknowledgments

 

In the beginning there was curiosity. This led to a search for more Roman era historical fiction; a search that resulted in my reading Marius Mules 1 by S.J.A. Turney.  After finishing the third volume, I overcame my reluctance and opened a Twitter account for express purpose of contacting Mr. Turney.  Since that initial encounter, I have formed electron based friendships with a bevy of authors, reviewers and fellow travelers from around the world.  What I gained from them, in addition to the bounty of excellent books to read, was the confidence to take on blank page and let loose the Muse inside me resulting in this, my first novel.  So, I owe a big thanks to the following (and I’m sure I’ll forget someone): Simon James Atkinson Turney, Gordon Doherty, Debby Foulkes, Prue Batten, Hannah Methwell, Rob Hagar Bayliss, Robert Southworth, Glynnie, Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Stephen A. McKay, Matthew Harffy and all of those hinted at in the parentheses.

Regarding whatever innate talent I may have, I must give a big thank you to my ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Winkler.  She managed to coax and at times coerce my imagination in how not only to read a book, but to write.  My very first fictional story was written in her class.  It was a science fiction account of some aliens (in the form of elephants) who helped mankind survive some sort of predicament.  I don’t remember much, but one detail has remained with me, probably because it exhibits the wit and humor I try to employ in my writing.  The ending to the elephant/alien story had the sentence, ‘and they worked for peanuts.’

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Scene from Chap 11- Clash of Empires

Pharaoh Lake

Deborah Prescott was the daughter of Quaker parents and while she understood their beliefs and indeed shared them when she was younger, she was of a different mind since her parents were killed in a raid by a group of Delaware despite the fact that they had hosted many Indians over the years on their farm 20 miles north of Albany and were considered friends to most.  Most but not all; some settlers in the area, frightened by the recent increase in marauding and murdering Indians, began to find fault with those who befriended those demons of the woods.  Quakers were a prime target for their faulty logic.  The raiding group that killed Deborah’s parents was spurred on by whites who supplied them the liquor that caused the deed to be done.  She had been away at the time of the attack visiting her friends Mary and Oliver Ford.  After the raid she could not bear to live there so was now living with the Fords on their farm tucked into a small valley between Pharaoh Lake and Wolf Pond.  She was scattering feed for the chickens when she heard the sound of horses coming down the track to the farm.  Grabbing the musket she kept near, she awaited the visitors.

They were riding single file with Daniel in the lead when he suddenly reined in causing his horse to rear slightly as he spied a young woman pointing a musket at him.  Getting his horse under control he held his hands out in a gesture of peace and climbed out of the saddle.  ‘Good day to you my good woman,’ Daniel said, ‘is this the Ford place?’  Deborah was a fairly good judge of character and she could see that these men were not a threat so she lowered her musket and replied,’ yes it is, though they are not here at present.  I’m not really sure when they will be back.  They’re down to Albany doing some trading.’  ‘Ahh, I see,’ said Daniel, ‘we’re on our way to rejoin our scout unit at Fort Cumberland and were hoping to get some information on doings at Ticonderoga.’  ‘I don’t know how much help I can be along those lines,’ she said taking the wide brimmed hat off her head and shaking out her raven black hair, but the very least I can do is offer you gentlemen a meal and a place to bed down tonight.’  ‘That would suit our needs,’ replied Daniel suddenly realizing how beautiful this woman was, ‘I am Daniel Mallory and my companions are Timothy Winslow, Markus Winningham and Sgt. Glynnie Mulhern of his majesty’s 48th regiment.’  ‘Pleased to make your acquaintance gentlemen,’ she said with a slight curtsey, ‘I believe there is enough fodder for your horses over in the barn.’

While Timothy and Markus took care of the horses Daniel and Sgt. Mulhern lent a hand preparing the meal, hauling water and cutting some venison up for the stew pot.  Deborah walked into the kitchen carrying some fresh carrots from the garden to add to the stew as well as onion, garlic and basil.  Daniel found he could not take his eyes off of her as she chopped the vegetables, even to the point where he nicked his thumb with the knife he was using on the venison.  ‘Mr. Mallory,’ Deborah implored with a grin on her face, ‘I think we have enough meat for the stew from the deer, you need not add your own flesh and blood to it.’  Sgt. Mulhern burst out laughing at Daniel’s embarrassed look, ‘you’ll have to excuse the lad.  You see, lass, he hasn’t seen a pretty face in a long time and for sure you are a beauty.’

The next morning after a breakfast of coffee, bacon and freshly baked biscuits, the four men saddled up and made ready to leave for Fort Cumberland.  Deborah who rose before dawn in order to bake the biscuits came out of the cabin, a hide pouch filled with more biscuits in her hands approached Daniel and handed him the pouch.  He started to tie the pouch to his saddle but fumbled with the drawstring and almost dropped it.  ‘Oh Mr. Mallory,’ said a smiling Deborah, ‘I certainly hope you handle your musket better than this pouch or your knife.’  Daniel, blushing red in the face, stammered out a reply, ‘we thank you ma’am for your hospitality and for the extra biscuits.’  Deborah helped him attach the pouch and with a voice only he could hear said, ‘You take care, I look forward to seeing you again.’  She reached up and touched his arm and smiled to which he replied, ‘I will.’, and then looking back to his grinning friends said, ‘well, let’s get going.  It’s a good two week ride to Cumberland.’  They rode through the gate and onto the track leading south.  Daniel took a last glance back and saw Deborah standing at the gate watching them depart.

new ending for chapter three – Clash of Empires

For the first week, Otetiani was content to ride along with Orenda.  Often, they lagged behind the others, lost in each other’s company.  Orenda noticed a change, though, in Otetiani, as they neared the trading post.  Otetiani seemed distant, far away in thought; at times, he rode off alone.  During one of those times when he rode ahead of the group, Orenda sought out her father and asked him if he knew what was troubling her husband?

Donehogawa looked at his daughter, saw the concern in her eyes and said, “Orenda, my daughter, Otetiani is troubled by the buffalo spirit and he is confused as he comes closer to his white family.  The buffalo is a powerful guide but it is one that makes one yearn to be free to wander our earth mother as the buffalo does.  It is also a hard thing for Otetiani now that he has embraced the Mohawk life to face his former life.  My daughter, it is for you to ease his troubled spirit.  I think it is time to tell him of the child you carry.  Do not look at me like I’m a seer who can look in the heart of a woman to see what is there.  I learned of the child from your mother.”

Orenda smiled at her father and replied, “I should have known that mother would tell you.  I am glad I spoke to you. I feel that you have opened my eyes.  Yes, it is time to tell Otetiani about his coming child.”

Otetiani was riding ahead of the group needing the time alone to sort through his mind’s confusion. The thought that puzzled him the most was whether he was Otetiani or Liam but the buffalo dream also played upon his mind giving a rise to his normal restlessness of spirit.  Glancing back to find Orenda brought some measure of comfort but still he struggled.  He noticed that she was riding with her father and thought he saw sadness on her face.

They made camp by a small stream.  Otetiani sat with his back to a willow tree that overlooked a small waterfall and dozed, the buffalo dream having invaded his sleep.  The moon was nearly full and was all the light Orenda needed as she walked over to where Otetiani sat.  He awoke at the touch of her hand upon his shoulder and the sound of her voice.

“Wake up my love,” Orenda whispered in his ear, “I have something to tell you.”

Otetiani opened his eyes, cupped his hand over the curve of her cheek and said, “My beautiful one, I have not been myself lately.  My spirit is restless, my mind confused.  I have seen sadness in your eyes and I am sorry that I am the cause for this but I am torn about my future.”

“Oh my husband,” Orenda replied as she took his hand in hers, “I know that you are troubled and that the buffalo dream is strong, but know this.  I will be by your side through whatever path you choose and so will the child I bear.”

Tears flowed down Otetiani’s face and as he stood up he noticed the swell of Orenda’s belly.  “We have a child coming?” he asked.  He took her in his arms and replied, “We will raise this child as a Mohawk.”  They walked back to the campfire and settled down for the night and soon Orenda was asleep with her head on Otetiani’s shoulder.  Otetiani, his mind playing back what he had learned, felt more peaceful than he had in a long time and instead of the buffalo dream, he fell asleep to a vision of a Mohawk village and children playing.