“Many paddles, one canoe” –First Nations saying
In the following excerpt from our top rating new release adventure novel Into the Americas, we describe a bloody clash between two warring First Nations tribes of the Pacific Northwest during a hunting expedition in the territories of the fearsome Mowachahts.
Maquina led a six-strong hunting party into the hills behind Nootka village. His five companions included Peshwar, a forbidding headman whose reputation as a fearsome warrior rivalled that of the chief and extended far beyond the borders of the Mowachahts’ territory. All six hunters carried shiny, new muskets acquired in the previous day’s trade, and they were keen to put them to good use.
Ahead of them, in dense forest, an elk grazed. Something spooked him. He wasn’t sure what – a scent or a sound perhaps – and he took off.
Soon after, Maquina spotted the elk’s tracks and knelt down to study them. He then led his fellow hunters deeper into the trees at a fast trot.
Elsewhere in the forest, the same elk burst into a clearing, disturbing a twelve-strong war party of Haachaht warriors, traditional enemies of the Mowachahts. They carried bows, tomahawks and other traditional weapons, and wore the grotesque wolf’s brow mask associated with their tribe.
The Haachahts’ chief, Callicum, a stocky man who wore a large nose-ring, stared into the surrounding trees. He flashed a hand signal at his warriors and they quickly dispersed. Now hidden from sight, they could hear the Mowachaht hunters moving through the undergrowth in pursuit of the elk.
Reaching the forest clearing, the Mowachahts stopped to study their quarry’s tracks. Maquina’s eyes were drawn to an eagle circling high above. He stared at the bird for a few seconds before returning his gaze to the trees. Sensing danger, he primed his musket. His fellow hunters followed suite.
A Haachaht bowman stepped out from behind a tree and aimed an arrow directly at Maquina. The bowman held his bow horizontal, in the manner of the indigenous people of the west coast. Maquina dropped to one knee and swung his musket up just as the bowman loosed his arrow. The arrow lodged in the throat of a tall Mowachaht standing directly behind Maquina. Mortally wounded, the warrior collapsed, choking on his own blood. Maquina killed the bowman with one well placed shot.
Haachaht war cries rang out as Callicum led his warriors out from the trees. Another arrow found its mark, killing a young Mowachaht. Reduced to four, the remaining Mowachahts fought like men possessed.
Two Haachahts closed in on Peshwar. He aimed his musket at the nearest of the two. A hollow click signalled it had malfunctioned. Cursing, Peshwar threw his musket aside and drew his tomahawk. “Peshak!” he swore as he grappled with his enemies. With two mighty swings of his tomahawk, the two Haachahts lay dead at his feet, their heads almost severed from their bodies.
As the fight escalated, a short Mowachaht aimed his musket at a burly Haachaht who rushed him, club in hand. His musket also misfired and he was clubbed to the ground. The Haachaht finished him off before he was felled by a musket shot.
Nearby, Maquina found himself fighting alongside Peshwar. “The muskets are faulty!” Maquina shouted.
Peshwar nodded. “The White-Faces have deceived us!”
The chief found himself face-to-face with Callicum who charged him with a tomahawk in each hand. Maquina raised his musket and pulled the trigger. This time his weapon misfired. Before he could reload, the Haachaht chief was onto him. Maquina was forced to back-peddle and use his musket to block his attacker’s blows. Peshwar came to his aid, wounding Callicum with his own tomahawk.
Seeing their chief in trouble, the other Haachahts seemed unsure what to do next.
Maquina and Peshwar took advantage of their enemies’ indecision and fled, dragging with them the other surviving hunter.
As they made good their escape, Maquina was consumed by the anger he felt toward the European traders. Yet again his people had fallen foul of the traders’ unscrupulous ways. On this occasion, faulty muskets had contributed to the deaths of three of his finest warriors.
You have been reading an excerpt from INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story). To read more go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/
★★★★★ “Highly recommended.” –Amazon reviewer Cheryl Long