11. The Approach of Armies

     After returning to the Mohican stronghold, the Vinlanders learn that the Mohawk army they were originally pursuing has instead headed north rather than returning to their own territory. There they have joined up with an Onondaga army in making war upon the Appalachian tribe.

     The grand sachem Abooksigun asks that the same force head north to the Appalachian stronghold, which is located at the junction of Lake Champlain and Lake George. There they should take pointers from the Appalachians in how best to fight the allied redaxe army.

     The Vinlanders then set out in roughly the same force as before: their five longships along with 140 of Rowtag's warriors. However, as they approach the Appalachian stronghold, Rowtag's scouts report that the stronghold has already fallen to redaxe forces.

     A reconaissance-in-force of some 25 warriors goes to head out over the mountains at night to try to make contact with remnants of the Appalachian forces. A vision from Silksif has suggested to them that there are wounded warriors on the far side of Lake George, as well as an old man (i.e. a shaman) on the nearby mountain. Accordingly, eight of the best swimmers from Rowtag's forces go with them to swim the lake and make contact. There is a quarter waning moon, so the woods are very dark.

     While making their way over the mountain at night, the band hears another force. Soon there are war cries and a confused melee erupts. The party handily defeats the small scouting party of redaxes. Kjartan is wounded in the leg although not disabled, and three prisoners are taken.

     With Lofthaena's help, they interrogate the prisoners. One of them speaks bravely and resists questions, so they kill him. The others answer some questions, saying that they are warriors of the army of the son-in-law of the great Hiawatha. They admit to having seen the white-haired grandson, which they take as a sign of their superiority. Skallagrim and the others feel that the best use of these prisoners is to return false information to the others. They use Lofthaena's knowledge of their language to suggest that the Mohawk have secretly aided the white men. As they continue to march, they subtlely give the prisoners to chance to run. Rowtag's men decide, however, that one messenger is sufficient and kill the slower of the running Onondagas.

     They then hear a mock birdcry, and a small boy meets them and leads them to a group of refugees, lead by the buowin Askewhetau. The old man greets them. He is a leader in peace and has little tactical advice, but he does fill them in on what happened. He does have some enigmatic questions for Poul concerning his motives.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Mon Aug 5 15:41:03 2002