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Authors: D. Sallen

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BOOK: Grail Quest
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He didn’t answer. He helped his friend up. They walked away grumbling.

I was not about to let my steeds be used as plow horses. They were only saved from that fate by the Governor. I convinced him that they were sent by the Virginia Company to aid exploration for other saleable products…and minerals such as gold.

I sought out Captain John Smyth. Earlier he had governed the colony through some very tough times. He was much interested in my flintlock. Matchlocks were the only kind of long firearms available to him. Naturally he wanted to shoot mine. I was happy to point out that it was safer than the matchlocks, but without a lot of practice, not quite as accurate.

We strode out to a glade where he could shoot at a stump with out endangering the populace. On the third shot he hit the edge of the target. “Aye, it’s a fine weapon, but here in these deep woods a long gun can be unhandy. Always carry a pistol. Learn to throw one of these short hatchets.” He jerked one out of his belt, cocked his arm back and zipped the hatchet into the stump target. “That takes some practice too, but very handy.

“Although the Naturals wield clubs of one sort or another, bows and arrows are their favorite, and most effective weapons. Don’t think they’re just dumb savages. They’ve learned the power of our shot. Their tactics have changed to surprise, hit and run.”

 
Back inside the fort the I bought a short hatchet from the Armorer. From his shop I hurried to the chapel. Religious service was mandatory. Everyone was obliged to attend once a day during the week and twice on Sunday. The penalty for missing once was two weeks short rations; for missing twice, flogging; for the third time, sent to a penal ship as a galley slave for six months.

I dreamt that night of a shadowy girl with long red hair. Her black eyes stared into mine. She wasn’t someone I recognized. At the time I thought nothing of it.

 

Captain Smyth introduced me to a young Natural man named Pungo. His family group lived in a small glade not far from the fort. I was invited to live with them and learn their ways. They constructed their huts with a framework of branches overlaid with woven mats. Pungo’s core family of wife, two boys, and several older people slept along the sides. Some people kept coming and going during the day. I didn’t know all their relations to Pungo.

Pungo’s grasp of English served to help me learn their language, and of course I improved his English. Pungo also taught me the Indian ways of quietly sneaking up on prey. To improve our ability to move soundlessly through the forest, we took turns trailing each other.

The Naturals wore little in the way of clothing. For the most part, a kind of a leather apron covered their privates. The women went about bare breasted. I found that very disconcerting. I tried not to stare.

Among those coming and going was a young girl, perhaps of fifteen years or so. She could always upset my concentration. One day Pungo noticed the physical effect she was having on me, He laughed, and pointed at the swelling in my breeches. He jerked his thumb toward the girl sitting on the other side of the room. “No, no. You no can do. Chief’s daughter, Ma-to-aka. You no touch. I have way. You come with me.”

I followed Pungo a little distance away to a corn field, where three people pulled up weeds. He took a short young woman by the arm, and led her to the edge of the woods. The way he manhandled her, and from the skimpy ragged apron she wore, I suspected she was either a prisoner or a slave. Pungo spoke to her in words I didn’t understand. She cringed, silently lay down on her back and lifted her apron. Pungo said, “Now you can do.”

Unable to remove my eyes from the naked girl’s bush, I said, “Hoy, Pungo. I’m not the kind of chap what uses a gal against her will…very often…”

Pungo shrugged. “You can do. She want. You give her gift.”

“Why is she weeping then?”

“She not see white man’s stallion, you call it. She think you break her. Give her monster baby.”

My conscienceless stallion overcame my dismay at the amount of dirt on her and mounted an attack which soon pleased her. She stopped crying. From her active participation,
 
I was not sundering a maidenhead. I was amazed she had enough strength to wrap
 
her legs around me and pump her hips. From her “
Unhhh, oh oh Unhhh!
” cries of pleasure, I ‘spect
 
she
 
got over her fear of delivering
 
a ‘Squire’ sized child. When I got up she lay there quivering . Then after she pushed herself up, she put
 
her hand out to me.

“What should I give her?” Pungo shrugged.

She kept looking at my head, so I unwrapped the kerchief I wore around my brow and gave it to her. She grabbed it and ran back into the cornfield. I hoped the pox had not arrived in the new world. “Who is she?”

“She prisoner. We capture her from Payankatanks.
 
She must work. Must satisfy warriors.”

She was so scrawny I doubted she got much to eat. We knew the Spaniards made slaves of some of their prisoners, but I was surprised at the way this girl was treated by other Naturals. Thinking about her situation, and my less than gallant behavior, I asked Pungo if I could buy her. I intended to set her free. A slave would not be welcome in Jamestown. “No. You can not do. She belong to Chief’s son. He not let go.”

“He probably has a price. Why don’t you ask him what he would trade for her?”
 

I began swimming in the James and soon developed a good suntan. One day as I headed back towards the dock, the lookout shouted, “Squire Allen! There’s someone following you. He came from the other side.”

Tuning my head I couldn’t see the other person so I surged to shore. The swimmer floated a bit, then swam diagonally to the south. Obviously tiring, the swimmer came ashore near the end of
 
Jamestown Island. He could barely stand. One of the soldiers who got to him first raised his gun. Noticing something strange about the swimmer, I commanded the sentry to hold fire until I got there. “Don’t shoot!” I hollered again. “Capture him! Take him alive!”

Exhausted by his swimming the chap gave little resistance. The soldiers trussed him like a wild animal. I turned him over on his back. Not only did he have blond hair, he had blue eyes and his skin was the color of wet sand. Most Naturals are a definite red, or at least mahogany. I judged him to be about fourteen years. We hustled him back to the fort and put him under guard. I sent for Pungo. While waiting for him I tried a few Indian words on the captive. He didn’t understand me. Then he said what sounded like, “Danoldare, Danoldare.”

When Pungo arrived he spoke to the captive in his own Powhatan language, and got no reaction. Then Pungo tried sign language and the stranger struggled with his bonds. Except for his feet tied together, I ordered him to be freed of his bonds. Now he actually smiled, gestured back to Pungo and repeated the words: “Danoldare, Danoldare.”

Pungo looked shocked. “
Danoldare
. That his name…his
White Man name!

“White Man name?” I repeated.

The lad struck his own chest and said, “Danoldare. Danoldare, Inglis, Danoldare Inglis.”

I was stunned. Then after recovering my usual aplomb, “You talk English?”

“Say some Inglis. Mother teach. Mother Inglis.”

“Is your English name Dan’l Dare?”

“Yes, Danoldare, Inglis name. Moyock, warrior name. Inglis mother say Danoldare. Red-Indian father, Potecasi, call me Moyock.”

Captain Smyth arrived and being brought up to date said, “This is a stunning development. The governor and the full council need to be appraised. Dan’l Dare may shed some light on the mysterious disappearance of Raleigh’s Lost Colony in 1585.”

Until the council could meet in deliberation, the Governor ordered that Moyock be untied but confined in the gaol. Other than that he was to be treated as a guest. Being one of the few educated men in the camp, I offered to interrogate him. Between Pungo and me we learned his history.

As best as we could determine, the survivors of the Raleigh Colony, racked by disease and starvation, headed inland and were taken in by the Croatan Naturals. Their numbers continued to diminish, and after Dan’l’s father died, Chief Potecasi married his mother. Moyock was their only offspring. Though doted on by his father, his step-siblings hated him. When his older sister, Virginia, and then his mother died, he fled north. Rumors of the English colony on the James had filtered down to the Croatan.

Because of dissension in the town over Moyock’s disposition, I remained as close to him as I could. Rations were short, and those who considered him just another Natural, resented him getting food. As it was, when I could, I slipped him extra bits. Pungo and I continued to interrogate him about his own background, and about the fate of the Raleigh colony. The more we talked, the better he remembered English that his mother and sister spoke to him. He came out of the water with an English knife in his belt. Smyth took it from him, but it gave credence to his tale. Soon there were also complaints about me.

“’Stead of gabbing with that half-breed, why ain’t the great hunter out hunting? We need food more’n history.” “The breed ain’t no use to us, why don’t Allen get rid of him?” “From what I hear, Allen’s a Natural lover now. How can we trust him?”

I was anxious to get Moyock out of gaol and to have him accepted by the populace. I appealed to Captain Smyth. “Moyock talks like he has learned all the Natural hunting skills from his father. If I could take him out in the woods, he might earn his place here. Despite his Natural father, I hope people will remember he is English.”

“Some think his father is more important than his mother,” Smyth said. “You’ll have a hard time convincing them. Putting him to good use makes sense. I’ll put it before the council.”

Afterwards Smyth told me, “It wasn’t easy. Almost half resent him. The Governor and the others finally agreed that you could take him hunting. You will be solely responsible for him, and under no circumstance is he to be given a firearm.”

One day, while walking towards the settlement carrying two wild turkeys, Moyock put his hand on my arm. “Listen….”

We stopped walking, but I didn’t know what he was hearing. “A bird warns us.” Moving on a few yards he stopped again. He motioned for quiet. The silence was ominous. These thick forest muffle sound like a blanket of gun cotton. “Someone creeps behind us.”

I still couldn’t hear, or see anything unusual. Why was anyone following us? We looked back down the trail. No one in sight. Whomever Moyock heard, didn’t want to be seen. I
 
said,
 
“We better warn the settlement.”

“Is only one person.”

As I turned, I heard a bowstring snap and the whirring of a rushing arrow.
 
Moyock
jammed
his turkey against me. An arrow pierced his bird where I’d been standing. The archer gave up any pretense of silence and ran back down the trail. We dropped our birds and ran after him. When he left the trail and disappeared, we lost him. Examining his trace, and the place from where he shot, Moyock said, “Look at his foot prints. He was wearing moccasins, but see how he runs. I do not think he was a Natural.”

“Hmmm. That is very strange. I wonder who among us is mad enough to shoot at me…and why…and who in moccasins?”

We picked up our birds and resumed walking to the settlement. We paused every now and then for Moyock to listen. “I think he is gone,” Moyock said. “The killer failed. We have been warned. He won’t be back.”

When I told Captain Smyth what happened, he questioned Moyock. “This looks like a Natural arrow to me. How do you know the archer was not a Natural?”

“No, poorly made, noisy arrow. He run fast on toes, dig in. Naturals run smooth, not leave trail. Arrow common. Could be anyone’s.”

“How do you know he wasn’t shooting at you instead of Allen?”

“Could be, if poor archer.”

“I think you have more white enemies than Allen. What about that, Squire Allen? Do you have any personal enemies here in Jamestown?”

I thought about that before answering Captain Smyth. I didn’t think it prudent to mention my London escapade. “None that I know of
 
by name, Captain. There’s some that resented me from the first, and many more since I’ve befriended Moyock. Don’t know of anything that warrants killing, but these hard times might cause some to be deranged.”

“Aye. Maybe you are a scapegoat for their own problems.”

“There’s another possibility. If he’d succeeded in killing me with an arrow, Moyock might have been blamed for it.”
 

 
“Indeed. Now it’s late. Don’t miss chapel.” Even out on the trail Captain Smith paused for a quick prayer.

Considering how rigid compliance with our own religious practices were, I said, “I’m surprised there aren’t missionaries amongst us to convert the heathen Naturals.”

Captain Smith said, “Just as well we don’t have any priests with us. Probably cause no end of trouble with the Powhatan. Hard telling what they worship. Out in the woods I’ve seen some structures that might be Natural temples.
 
I thought it best to leave them alone.”
 

BOOK: Grail Quest
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