Daniel walked alone along the trail in pursuit of Captain Smith. He was close enough to smell the smoke from the campfire lingering in the damp air. The steady mountain mists had softened the fallen leaves enough to keep his swift strides from making too much noise. Occasionally Daniel would pause for a few minutes and listen. By paying attention to the holes in the bird songs he could tell that Malachi was not only ahead of his position but also about one third of the way from the top of the ridges and to the Northwest where he could avoid the sun showing his silhouette. He could also tell that the settlers were only a few ridges away and still stationary. Daniel reviewed Malachi’s plan over and in his head and stopped walking just outside of the camp where he could stay out of sight until Malachi gave the signal for him to attempt to join the group.
Captain Smith was a captain in name only. In fact he’d never advanced above the rank of corporal. He was well versed in fighting skills and troop movements as well as general tactics but he had no gift for actual leadership. It was that very shortcoming that haunted him in every endeavor that he undertook. He simply couldn’t inspire his followers most of which were farmers and their families hoping for a land grant out west. They were pacifists for the most part but they had just about reached their limits with Captain Smith. They were weeks behind schedule, lost most of their possessions at the falls and now most of them were convinced that Smith’s shortcut had left them completely lost. They had paid for a confident guide to lead them but what they got was a conman who’d fell victim to his own con. Today enough of the party had chosen to elect a new leader that Smith was outraged. Alexandra was among those who had decided that enough was enough.
Daniel was having trouble restraining himself when he finally heard Malachi’s signal. Two crow calls followed by a whip-poor-will. An experienced woodsman might notice that the call was out of place for this time of year and time of day but the casual observer would not notice. Daniel checked the straps on his gear and settled his nerves and stepped into the pathway. He proceeded into the camp as if he was just passing through and gave a friendly “Hello in the camp” call as he got near. Alexandra looked up and knew immediately who was coming up the path in spite of the European style cloak. When Captain Smith saw the stranger he quickly questioned him. Daniel stated that he he always took this trail to the Hospitality House. He knew that this was where the group had hoped to reach days ago. That was when Alexandra spoke up and asked to go along with him. About eighty percent of group began to ask him to guide them. Once again Captain Smith’s fragile ego couldn’t withstand the challenge and he blurted out for Daniel to engage in a dual. Daniel had expected this and was actually counting on it. He readily agreed insisting that the winner gain the leadership position of the group. Captain Smith called for his sabers but Daniel refused his stating that he would use his staff while revealing the triangular tip. Daniel quoted from an obscure rule in dualing that gave him the right to chose his own weapons. The two men squared off and Smith made the first move lunging with the saber. Daniel simply pivoted allowing the saber to pass harmlessly past his chest while countering with a jab to Smith’s ribs with the knob of his staff. To Smith’s credit he took the blow that would have crippled most men in stride and brought his Saber down hard on Daniel’s forearm. There was a crunch and the saber stuck in place. Daniel made no expression on his face as the hard knob of his stick struck the flat of Smith’s sword breaking it in half. Smith was stunned. That cut should have taken Daniel’s arm off but he barely noticed. Daniel wasted no time sweeping Smith’s feet out from under him and sending him to the forest floor. A simple turn of the staff and the triangular spike was at Smith’s throat. “Pease yield” Daniel spoke calmly. Smith’s eyes shifted to the members of the group who had just witnessed his defeat. He relented. Alexandra ran to Daniel and took ahold of the arm that still had the broken saber blade embedded in it. Daniel raised the arm allowing the sleeve of his shirt to fall back and revealed the bundle of sticks bound to his arm by a strip of Malachi’s fur jacket. The crunching sound they heard was the top layer of sticks breaking while the second, thicker layer had caught and bound the blade. Cheater! Smith shouted as he took advantage of Daniel’s distraction and with a single motion he rolled out from under Daniel’s spike and grabbed the remaining eighteen inch section of broken saber. Malachi’s musket made thunder from his unseen position and for the second time saved Daniel’s life.
Soon after the duel Malachi and Daniel lead the party of settlers to the Hospitality House where they were able to resupply and continue the journey West. However, Alexandra returned home with Daniel and they were married. Malachi remained in the mountains and enjoyed the simple life of a trapper. Occasionally he would bring his furs and things into town and reconnect with Daniel. They did collaborate on a few more adventures together.. but let’s save those stories for later.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
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