Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Tragic Expedition of Commodore Ulysses L. Gruffudd


Read parts one, twothree, four, and five.

August
Much time has passed in the belly of the beast; much have I see that I wish I had not. After the savage rendered me unconscious, I awoke much later tied to a stake, great bonfires burning all around me, the heathens dancing in celebration, their cries shrill and piercing like the music of devils. In the midst of their fires are the French Canadians; they make no noise while they burn, their lives having been mercifully taken from them before the flames devoured their flesh. They were not the best of men, nor were they Christian men, but all the same, I do not think they deserved the fate the savages gave to them. Throughout the night I wait for them to pile kindling about me, but the torch never comes. I pass into a restless sleep--in my dreams, devils dance about me, stabbing at my heart with their pitchforks, their laughter a saber piercing my very soul.

...

Morning comes, and the nightly festivities have ended. The desolation of our fort is plain to see, as are the charred ashes of the bones of my men. A solitary Indian stands before me, his face painted, his black hair tied in a bun held together by two slender bones. He offers a cup to me, beckoning me to drink, and I comply, my parched lips and dry throat suffering from a terrible thirst. The liquid is cool, thick, and tastes of iron; immediately, I know it to be blood, likely drained from my companions. I spit it out, shaking my head with what energy I have left. The savage does not look pleased; his visage wrinkles and he bares his fangs, which appear to be sharpened like daggers. He takes me off of the stake and pushes me forward, my hands bound, my feet moving like lead weights. Into the palpable darkness of the woods we venture, the savage pushing me forward, the branches and briars cutting my face.


We walk a few leagues before we come upon the Indian village. Crude structures of wood greet us; children and small dogs run at our side, sniffing and pawing at my clothes. The women here have no modesty; they walk with their breasts exposed. I must admit that no matter their other characteristics, the savages are impressive specimens, both male and female. They are well-muscled, lean, and capable of great feats of athleticism, and they are fair to look upon. My captor ends my ruminations with a strike of his hand. I am placed upon another stake, this one right in the center of town. The children who greeted my arrival now throw stones and worse, their little mouths voicing foul opinions in their heathen tongue. The women behave similarly, and I am doused with urine and feces. This continues for most of the day. In the evening, I am approached by the same Indian who took me to the village. "You must pay," he says in clear English. "For what?" I ask him. "For the sins of your ancestors," he says. I am left alone, hanging from the stake, the moon's light my only illumination.  

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