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Deviltry in Jamestown

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This is a narrative, in part, from a recent adventure played with friends in Jamestown, VA.  The year is 1609. Perhaps well to remember what is was like to be an immigrant with this President in England.  Interestingly, many of the leaders of Virginia around the time of The Revolution claimed descent from Pocahontas rather than Gabriel Archer.  

Arrival without Fanfare

     Before the rough-hewn, river-facing gate of the triangular wooden palisade, bulwarks bristling with cannon at each vertex to the dismay of salvadges darkly lurking amid the dappled branches of the Virginia forest, the adventurers were scarcely greeted upon their late arrival, so teeming was Jamestown’s muddy confines with earlier colonists from the fleet, more than 300 souls added to the 120 or so inhabitants who had survived the privations of the previous winter.  Everywhere, muck and sweat and stench crowded upon this bivouac of humanity cast ashore, not rising to the level of the meanest human habitation.  The burial grounds in the northwest corner, situated within the palisade to protect the colony from whatever notions among the Powhatan might else arise that the English be only human after all, subject to the ordinary demise of all God’s creatures…even the burial grounds were encroached upon by those brought here from the mother country, she having dropped her litter thus unseemly in the virgin territories.

     "More mouths to feed," was perhaps the only muttered imprecation heard upon the arrival of the adventurers in Jamestown.  Having set sail down the Thames on June 2nd and thus at sea nearly four months, following the hyrcano, landfall in Jamestown was most welcome despite the lack of courteous reception!   

The Favorite Daughter

     And others had preceded the adventurers, causing a stir and distraction quite apart from their own arrival.  At the gate, facing a delegation of well-dressed colonists, was a lithe and diminutive native girl of perhaps 14 summers, wearing a necklace of shells and copper ornaments and not much besides.  Next to her stood an older native of sturdy build, carrying a basket of flowers and yet disturbingly in appearance after the fashion of Old Scratch himself, feathers like horns and animal tail!  The outlandish couple was met at the gates by a short (5’ 5”), bearded man, with crooked teeth, carrying a stave of office.  He had wounds on his hands which seemed to resemble healed stigmata.

     Surprisingly, the girl spoke English, after a fashion...

     “I have come to see Captain Smith”, she said, with strangely accented words.  “Is he here?”

     “I am sorry to tell you Captain John Smith is dead," the short, bearded man replied.  "He died of wounds suffered in a skirmish with the Nansemond.  We have learned you salvadges can’t be trusted.  You must not come to our gates any longer, promising friendship and then sneaking up from behind with arrows and war clubs.  Leave Jamestown and do not return!”

     The older brave attending her, a strong and mature warrior, spoke:

      “Caucorouse (Captain) say you go home.  Vittapitchewayne (you lie!).  More Otasantasuwak (those who wear trousers) come here!  Casakunnacak, peya quagh acquintan vttasantasough?”

     Tears were streaming down the girl's cheeks.

       Opechancanough is Werowance of Pamunkey, brother of Wahunsenecock, my father whom you call Powhatan.  Opechancanough asks in how many days will there come here more English ships?  He is angry because…John…told my father the English were soon leaving Virginia, but now more have come. ”

      The short bearded man with the stigmata replied:

       “That is not a concern for you salvadges.  Good King James rules our town.  He decides who comes or goes.  If Smith lied to you, then he must give an accounting to the Lord for it, which I imagine will take some time.”

      The young woman’s dark eyes blazed.  “You have hated my people, Gabriel Archer, since the wounding of your hands when the English first came ashore here.  Have you forgotten the lady of our people who pressed wisakon in your hands to save you the use of them?  And now you use those healed hands to bring your revenge on us, you point at the sun!”  She pointed to the sun.  “Many years from now, men will find the bones of your hands, put them where others can see them.  Your vengeance against my people will be done upon us, but not by you!  The shadows grow long on the day of your life.”

     The  salvadges left the gate, but not before Temperance, an adventurer,  pressed to the young girl’s side.  Such was Temperance's charm that despite the tears running down her cheeks, the young girl smiled, said her name was Pocahontas, she who was the favorite daughter of The Powhatan.  Was there any hope for peace between the English and the people of this New World? Temperance asked.  Perhaps only in a single thing, Pocahontas replied.  There was a treasure from the Temple of Okeus in Nansemond, which the English destroyed while stealing their corn.  This artifact, a turtle shell rattle, was sacred to her people.  If it could only be recovered, returned to The Powhatan in Werowocomoco, perhaps a peace could be made, even now.  She would plead before the judgment seat of her father herself, as she had pleaded for the life of John Smith…who was now dead…her eyes became downcast and disconsolate, as she walked sadly away into the forest.


Edited by Julich1610
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An excellent book you could use as a reference for pre-contact Native Americans is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1491:_New_Revelations_of_the_Americas_Before_Columbus

and the sequel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1493:_Uncovering_the_New_World_Columbus_Created

Also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saints_%26_Strangers also gives some good visuals on the dress and war gear of Natives. Certainly close enough for your purposes.



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Thanks for the references!  Will definitely peruse as time allows.  The difficulty of fairly representing the Powhatan is that they didn't have written records.  Most of what we know about them comes from the English.  For example, I have a tome sitting on my desk called Jamestown: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virginia Colony The First Decade 1607-1617 edited with commentary by Edward Wright Haile.  I used this book during the recent Jamestown adventure (played at the Powhatan Resort just outside Williamsburg by the way) at key parts of the adventure to present some of the events, some of the NPC's literally in their own words.  Pretty cool! if I do say so... 

The Powhatan words used in the above excerpt, for example, come from a dictionary put together by John Smith, who didn't regard the native people as mere "salvadges". Another resource I would recommend is Powhatan's World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures which grew out of a doctoral thesis in anthropology written by Frederic W. Gleach.  Totally recommend Savage Kingdom: Virginia and the Founding of English America by Benjamin Wooley, which I and two of my players listened to in Audiobook format on the long drive to Williamsburg on our separate trips there.  The level of detail is everything a GM of alternate history could wish!

The depiction of Pocahontas above, by the way, comes from an imaginary scene created by Georg Keller in 1617 to illustrate  Ralph Hamor's A True Discourse of the Present State of Virginia.  I generally prefer artwork that is nearly contemporary, even when pure fantasy!

Finally, the archaeology of Jamestown itself, once thought washed away down the James River is the life's work of the Inimitable Bill Kelso, who we had the good fortune to see supervising work at the site of his rediscovery of the actual fort.  His book, Jamestown, the Truth Revealed also occupies a place of honor on my Jamestown shelf.

I am planning a return trip to Williamsburg, which succeeded Jamestown as capital of Virginia, in September.  Don't tell them, but I thought our next adventure might involve the descendants of the Player Characters in the New World at the time of the Revolution.  This is definitely the most fun way to learn history one could imagine!

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Hyrcano off the Isle of Devils, St. James Day 1609

Henry Ravens, doughty former captain of English Infantry in the Dutch War against the Spaniards, was sorely in need of drynke.  The extra month at sea following the Hyrcano on St. James Day, July 25th (409 years ago today!), when the fleet was a mere 8 days away from reaching Virginia, had exhausted their stores of grog, almost provoking the crew to mutiny but for the stern discipline of the commander of The Virginia, James Davis, backed up, of course, by the adventurers here in this Brave New World on the business of no less a personage than Lord Robert Cecil , King James' little beagle as the King himself but no one else dare call the hunchbacked Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer, a real Machiavell by all accounts.  

Aye, but there was something uncanny in the wind the night before the hyrcano struck, not far off the Isle of Devils.  Ravens was taking his turn on deck to escape the stifling berths below, when he espied great birds flocking and croaking with harsh voices above the three masts of the 300 ton flagship Sea Venture from which the pinnace Virginia was towed astern for safety.  Strange for these birds to be seen so far from shore, like the proverbial dove with the olive branch signifying that land was finally nigh to old Noah.  But God revealed to Ravens the true nature of these fowl fiends as in a flash of lightning they verily took an appearance of horrid devils gathered from the darkest pits of hell!  The vision passed in an instant, but Ravens knew that God had given him a sign, in sooth, ill omen though it be.  Only a witch could summon devils to so trouble a fleet, that he knew.  There were stories yet told about when King James sent to Denmark for Queen Anne in 1590 to be his bride, how terrible storms did beat her ships back to Denmark in the King's despite.  More than a  hundred witches of North Berwick were accused and some put to death for their treason against the King and, almost as heinous, against God, but he whom the witches said commanded them, the infamous Earl of Bothwell, was found innocent in a courtroom packed with many of his armed retainers, though the smirking Earl was later forced into exile by the suspicious King James, a self-proclaimed expert in witchcraft.

A dreadful storm and hideous began to blow from the northeast, which swelling and roaring, as it were, by fits, some hours with more violence than others, at length did beat all the light from heaven, which like an hell of darkness turned black upon us, so much the more fuller of horror…  T'is little wonder then Sea Venture cast off her pinnace and the much smaller, two masted and 30 ton Virginia found itself tossed amidst the elements of the storm without the mother ship to guide her.

Yet the brave crew prevailed under their captain, James Davis, an expert master and builder of the ship Virginia, he who had returned to England with the colonists from abandoned Popham colony in North Virginia, beset by  the cruelest of winters.  The crew gave battle against the hellish forces unleashed by the witch, while the passengers huddled praying below, waiting for the storm to sink them amid the churning waves.  Indeed, three of the seven crewmembers under Captain Davis were washed overboard, may their souls rest in peace until the sea gave up the dead which were in it, as it is written (Rev. 20:13).  Battered and damaged, The Virginia, by the grace of Our Lord, survived the storm, but driven so far off course it would not be until October 3rd the ship at last made landfall at Jamestown.   

But the Sea Venture never did make landfall at Jamestown.  Nor did Catch.  Lost at sea, both ships were, with all the supplies the colonists were depending on to provide sustenance in the New World this winter.  It didn't take long for the thirsty Ravens to discover there was no such luxury as a pint to be found within the whole mud flat demarcated by the crude wooden palisade of Jamestown.  The best that could be hoped for was rainwater at a price, still better than the brackish water from the well.  It was only a question of time until the Bloody Flux made itself known among these people.  Ravens laughed to himself!  Having survived the Siege of Ostend only to die in his own filth?  Not while he could yet manage a more manly ending!  He felt like singing to himself:  Henry Ravens!  Henry Ravens!  but his bloody throat was too dry for such exertions, rasping out only a thin, dusty cough.  Ah, for a swig in the darkest, most dismal and coldest tavern in the Low Country, be it the foulest gruit Holland had to offer!

Henry Ravens

Edited by Julich1610
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The Former Privateer

"T'is sure as me beard there be gold hereabouts", Americus Leftwich muttered to no one in particular.  His nickname came from his Father's reading of Amerigo Vespucci's early accounts of the New World.   Now, he supposed, he was rather an old sea dog who still recalled the rich aroma of gold, be it the faintest metallic tang on the air, especially the gold of Spanish doubloons.  Had he not, as a mere strip of a lad, accompanied the famous Sir Richard Grenville on board his 160 ton, 22 cannon galleass Tyger when Grenville took the 400 ton, Spanish galleon Santa Maria de San Vicente, proud flagship of the Santa Domingo fleet, off the coast of the Isle of Devils in the Year of Our Lord 1585?  Using the longer range of the Tyger's guns, Grenville pounded the Spanish captain, Alonzo de Cornieles, into submission with only two casualties aboard his own vessel.

What a rich prize was garnered that day for the crew of the victorious Tyger!  Grenville officially estimated the value at 15,000 pounds, but the Spaniards claimed the value nearer 50,000 pounds and accused Grenville of embezzlement from Queen Elizabeth, a charge from an enemy easily dismissed..  The wily Lord Robert Cecil,  however, seemed to be uncomfortably knowledgeable of Grenville's privateering in the New World.  Possibly because he had confined Grenville's cousin, Sir Walter Raleigh - he who had named Virginia for the Virgin queen and financed the lost colony of Roanoke - in the tower since less than four months after Elizabeth's demise in May 1603, accused of conspiring against the new King James.  After his rival's trial and imprisonment, Lord Robert Cecil created the Virginia Company to exploit Raleigh's earlier efforts..

Though Grenville died in the Azores, from wounds suffered in battle in 1591 with a large fleet of Spanish ships he faced alone aboard his ship Revenge, 'out-gunned, out-fought, and out-numbered fifty-three to one", some few of the crew did survive, despite Grenville's order to blow Revenge up at the last..."Sink me the ship, Master Gunner! — sink her! split her in twain! ... Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain!"  But his officers thought better of their proud captain's attempt to scuttle the vessel and kill them all, surrendering instead to the Spaniards.  Grenville died a few days later, cursing his officers for traitors and dogs.

The imprisoned crew of Revenge and their badly damaged ship then sailed with the Spanish fleet only to be caught in a dreadful cyclone (the revenge of Grenville's Ghost?) off the coast of the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores.  Revenge and 15 Spanish warships with all hands were lost, with the exception of the now sturdier youth Americus who managed to swim ashore.  With no great love for their Spanish overlords, Americus was spirited away by Portuguese fishermen on the island to an island in the Azores where the English still held sway and he soon found himself aboard a ship of the Sea Beggars, Dutch rebels against the Spaniards.  But now that an inglorious  peace has been concluded between the Dutch Republic and Spain, outlawing privateers and their once legal profits, Americus is once again returning to his namesake, the New World of America, with a few secrets of his own.  Whatever treasure he accumulated over the years slipped through his fingers like sand, more's the pity.  He is rather of unfortunate means at the moment, like many who did take ship for Virginia..

Lord Robert Cecil must have extracted from Raleigh the truth that Sir Richard Grenville, Raleigh's cousin, withheld the doubloons that should have enriched Elizabeth's treasury, as the Spanish indicted, and are now owed to the Crown. desperate for cash after the excesses of King James having exhausted the royal coffers, leading to acrimonious relations with Parliament.

What Cecil did not know when he hired the agents of the Virginia company, Americus among them, to investigate a letter received from John Smith, President of the Council,  to the effect he had sighted the wreckage of an English pinnace on a tributary of the James River but had not time to explore it, being set upon by many salvadges, is that Americus has been here before.

Well, he yet remembers the Tyger dropping anchor in the James River and sending its shallop several times up a tributary, heavy laden with chests.  T'was the bosun, Ananias Dare, who led that expedition, who made a map Americus saw, spying through a crevasse in Dare's cabin.  Now this was the same Ananias Dare to settle at the Lost Colony of Roanoke, perhaps not by accident, perhaps rather with intention to retrieve the treasure at earliest opportunity, while Grenville was more concerned with the immediate threat of the Spanish Armada to Queen and country.  But Dare was a lost colonist now, and his map with him...unless, unless, the pinnace seen by Captain John Smith was from Roanoke!  That must be Lord Robert Cecil's surmise.

Captain John Smith is gone now, if that lawyer Archer be true, t'is said dead men tell no tales.  Americus does not get on well with lawyers, truth be told - they do argue the hanging of privateers, naming them unsavory pirates since the treaties be signed, rather than valiant heroes serving at the pleasure of the King.  Could Archer be lying about Smith?  T'is said Archer tried to have Smith hung and nearly succeeded during Archer's last visit to Jamestown, but good Captain Newport arrived with his ships and stayed the execution in the nick of time,  And now they are looking for gold here at Jamestown, a worse fever than the Bloody Flux.  England seeks to ape the incredible wealth extracted by the Spanish from New Spain, but so far without success.  The colonists are looking for a mountain of gold somewhere in the mountains to the west, but Captain Newport hath twice returned to England empty-handed.  The patience of the shareholders wears thin.

There must be gold here,   Aye, Americus knows the scent of it!  He only needs to  follow his nose to find it.



Edited by Julich1610
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Samuel Scarlett, of Maxfield, sometimes known as Scathelocke in the courts, holds true to the family legend his ancestor be no less than the same Young Gamwell banished to the Greenwood by his father for killing his father's steward, a man of evil temperament.  This Gamwell, clad in scarlet hose, did challenge Robyn Hode to a friendly duel with broadswords and, besting him, joined the Merry Men as Will Scarlet during the captivity of Richard Coeur de Lion at the pleasure of the Holy Roman Emperor, while his younger brother John revolted against Richard's rule in the King's absence.  It has been more than 20 score years since those days of old, but Sam is proud of his lineage, fact or fancy notwithstanding..  Some article of scarlet may always to be found in the garb with which Sam is clad, as a reminder of his ancestry.

The bow he wields with deadly accuracy is no longer the favored weapon that famously laid low the flower of French chivalry at the Battle of Agincourt in the time of Henry V and the Hundred Years' War.  The musket has a longer range, greater accuracy and more killing power.  The musket does not require 10 years of training to master, as does the longbow with the curved arc the flight of its arrows takes and the musket can be fired from a kneeling or even prone position.  Sam mayhap would argue the bow also doesn't misfire, the far too frequent "flash in the pan", is swifter to reload, and does not give away the position of the archer with a loud bang and puff of sulfurous smoke.  Many of the salvadges he saw at the gates of Jamestown wield bows themselves and so Sam mayhap feels in some strange way akin to these native people.

Like his forefather, Sam Scarlett is also an outlaw, but without the scarlet hose.  Of vengeful disposition, he was accused of ending the career of a corrupt tax gatherer who had stolen the livelihood from his sister's  family, resulting in the sickness and death of two young nieces.  Sam managed to escape justice dancing at the end of the hangman's noose with a most sudden departure of all he had known growing up, the grateful smile of his avenged sister the last glimpse of his childhood.  Coming to London Towne, Sam fell in with contacts there who led him ultimately to taking service with the Virginia Company.  A man has to eat, after all.  On the less reputable business of a worthy like Lord Robert Cecil,  of course, the indiscretions of youth can be easily overlooked. 

Sam also finds a certain gleam in his eye whenever around the maid Temperance usually only found there when taking aim with one of his steel-headed arrows.  Her decision to come to Virginia may have played a role in his own course of action though he is loathe to admit it even to himself.  For now, of course, his meager fortunes are too far beneath the notice of such a lady, but with a share of the lost treasure of the fabled Santa Maria de San Vicente,  Temperance might be persuaded to reconsider his suit with favor.  After all, it is said Will Scarlet married a princess whom he saved from the Turks.  In this savage land, the social differences that in England would form an impassable barrier between Sam and Temperance might dissolve like the harsh light of day into the deepening scarlet of sunset. 


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What should I do in Illyria?

Cucullus non facit monachum the fool hath said upon The Twelfth Night.  If the hood makes not the monk, neither then the dress makes the lady.  And sometimes, for her own amusement, Temperance had, like Viola on the stage, played at being the boy but then even men who ne'er thought such attraction right nor godly did feel themselves attracted to her.  There was something more to it, perhaps,  than just looking the woman's part, on the theater stage of London enacted by men, perhaps a deeper connection exists between the sexes than the ogling of exposed cleavage encouraged by the fashions of the day.  Of course, the late Queen Elizabeth was known to have had as many as 102 French gowns.  London is mad about the latest fashions, so long as the lady in question dare not expose something so immodest as an arm, a leg.  For those members only a husband may behold and Temperance has no husband.  

Not for lack of suitors.  All day they would hang on the bell at the counting house of her father, a prosperous merchant.  Oh, there were no end of propositions, proposals, attempted arrangements, for Temperance is considered a great beauty and her father is wealthy enough - the sonnets, the lute ballads she has endured and yet what appeals to her most is the honest affection for imperfection described by William Shakespeare, of whom she is a great admirer, in Sonnet CXXX that begins: "My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun" and ends:

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

Temperance loves poetry and despises doggerel.  Men are so easily enraptured by the sound of their own voices.  It is easy enough to smile prettily and let them do all the talking, committing to nothing at all but the semblance of heeding what they say.  And to earn her barest notice, they will reveal their secrets, open their purses, draw sword to defend her honor.  It is, in sooth, like taking the rope from a child skipping.

What none of them realize is that her father loves her as much as any son, not just as an ornament, a pretty thing to be hawked in the market with his other wares.  Without sons, Thomas Gresham had built up his merchant house from nothing and become a member of the Virginia Company at the urging of his friend, Sir Thomas Smythe.  Temperance is to be his eyes and ears in the New World.  Her father trusts her with his business, even on so dangerous a mission as this one.  And she will not marry for reason other than love; not for political or financial advantage, but only where her own heart takes her.  Temperance's father has promised her that much.  Tough, educated, skilled with weapons, she is not the usual confection of a woman prepared in the drawing rooms of polite society.  The Late Queen was also not of such flimsy stuff, 

In the New World, Temperance knows that the commander of Virginia, James Davis, who has brought his wife Rachel aboard also, has orders to allow no harm to befall her.  She will help the Company determine the mystery of this ship the late John Smith wrote of, but she will also ascertain for her father, who sees the commercial possibilities, whether there are resources in the New World awaiting further exploit.  Most of all, Temperance will be herself, choose her own path, as a woman possessing not only the beauty but also the wit to accomplish greatness.


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A Man of the Cloth

When Temperance entered the doorway of the "mud-and-stud" church at the center of Jamestown, t'was no Canterbury Cathedral greeted her eyes.  The church was small, three score feet long by 24 wide.  The rough-hewn benches arranged on either side of the central aisle approached a chancel of cedar.  The nave, if one could call it such, was dark, but a shaft of light from a window, shutter thrown open, fell to the foot of the altar where the unassuming figure of a man lay prostrate in prayer. 

Temperance waited for him to finish.  He was not a young man, she saw.  When he rose from prayer, it was stiffly, the pain etched into his face as though a living martyr to the thousand natural shocks to which flesh is heir, yet he smiled when he saw the young woman.  

"Welcome, milady.  It isn't much of a church, begging your pardon, but the first Anglican sermon in this New World was conducted under a sailcloth, so we must accept our blessings, however humble, with gratitude before the Father of Lights."

"Are you the minister?"  Temperance asked.

"Robert Hunt is my name.  I think myself more a chaplain than minister, in such a humble situation as God has provided in Virginia.  Perhaps also a missionary.  I have a heart for the salvadges.  Did you see Pocohontas?  Often have I spoken to her of the glory of God in Christ Jesus Our Lord.  As she covered Captain Smith with her own body when by the judgement of her father, he would have surely perished, so I tell her Jesus hath done for all.  Her English, under the tutelage of Captain Smith, is quite remarkable.  She might one day become our first convert, or so my prayers would be answered.  Can you imagine her baptism in this very church?  I dream of it.  Captain Archer, though determined in his defense of Jamestown, will not thwart the plans of Almighty God for that young woman."

"Did you know Captain Smith, then?" Temperance asked.

"They say he is dead," the chaplain said, a shadow of sorrow passing across his weary face.  "More of a loss to this colony than Gabriel Archer and his cronies would willingly admit.  Captain Smith was a brave adventurer and competent Council President.  He shared my heart for the salvadges.  And he was a friend to me.  The old church burned this winter past, my library with it.  T'was Captain Smith who comforted me, when all I had left were the clothes on my back.  May his soul rest in peace."

"But forgive me, I am forgetting my manners, milady.  Who then are you, may your humble servant inquire, who appears on the doorstep of this rough church with the countenance of a very angel?"

"No angel I, just Temperance Gresham from London."

"Temperance, t'is a name of virtue, milady.  Please forgive this rough old man, so well-appointed to a church of mud and branches.  In gentler times, I had a wife once, Elizabeth her name was.  But alas!  The life of a poor parson's wife was not to her liking and so she disappeared from our home, leaving a note only saying she would not be coming back.  I have little understanding of the female mind, I confess it.  What brings you so far from London, if I might so boldly ask?  You seem to me surely the lady of some great house.  Where is your husband?"

"Good Chaplain Hunt, I am here on my father's business, which to me he solely entrusts.  As for husbands, many would have this lady you see at church door, yet I have found none who would have Temperance herself rather than what Temperance represents to them: the picture of marriage, the gain of rich dowry."

"Then you are well-named, Temperance, not to cast yourself like a bride's bouquet to whatever eager hand would reach too far upward to grasp you.  May God show you His way, in His time.  But have you accommodation?  My lodgings are poor, like most in this town, yet I would sleep on the open ground that a lady be comforted."

"You are quite a gentleman, after all, Chaplain Hunt, not so rough a one as you claimed to be.  I thank you most kindly for such a gallant offer.  Yet, I am not here alone.  My father has provided me with retainers to accommodate as well.  We shall find our lodgings together or, if worse should come to worst, take refuge on the ship that brought us here."

The Chaplain smiled.  "I must add Prudence to your virtues then, my dear.  It is wise to have companions to defend you in this wilderness.  It is not so glittering, it is not so golden, as perhaps the Company hoped it would prove.  There is a darkness that lurks under the eaves of these trees that is no natural shade of night's repose.  I do not wish to trouble your slumber, milady, and yet you must know, it hems us in.  Few dare to stir abroad, beyond the palisade wall.  Bartholomew Gosnold, Captain of Godspeed,  lies buried outside the western corner.  The darkness took him, though a worthy and religious gentleman, shortly after our arrival here.  It has a name among the salvades - Okeus, the Red Tomahawk - plainly the Devil by any other name.  Satan is abroad here in Virginia, Temperance, seeking whom he may devour.  Be wary and set not thy dainty foot outside the palisade wall by night!"

"Indeed, the concern of all, for it can only be the Devil's scheme which laid Captain Smith low," said Temperance.  "My father, nay the Company, would know more of Smith's passing.  Do you know if he left papers I might peruse on the Company's behalf?"

"Your father's agent forsooth!" quoth Reverend Hunt.  "Any official correspondence of Captain Smith would now doubtless be in the hands of the Council under its new president, George Percy." 

Just then, two parishioners arrived in the church with wondering gaze, for Chaplain Hunt had drawn close to Temperance, as though to protect her from what lurked outside the palisade walls.

He made the sign of the cross on her forehead.

"May God in His infinite mercy bless thee and keep thee safe, along with thy companions," the Chaplain intoned and Temperance turned then to take her leave.  Though wary of clergymen and their scheming, she liked this poor frontier chaplain, she decided.   


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A Delicate Morsel

Later that hot and humid evening, under the dark of the moon, Samuel Scarlett, Henry Ravens, Americus Leftwich and Temperance Gresham made a dinner of victuals from the Virginia upon a small cook-fire to be washed down with a wooden flagon of small beer reluctantly meted out to them as new arrivals at a costly half-angel apiece, hard for light purses to bear.  There was a young girl close at hand with her family, barely more than a child.  The smell of the food cooking made her stomach rumble and she apologized, embarrassed.

"Begging your pardon, my masters," she said.  "All the supplies now lost with our governor, Sir Thomas Gates, aboard Sea Venture, we be cast ashore without the Company's providence or provender.  Truth to tell, all hoped for Sea Venture's deliverance when your sail was first espied.  Forgive mine impertinence - It is but the complaint of my stomach, not my heart, which remains true to the Lord.  Mother says we must keep faith in His provision, come what may."

So the company did offer this girl, Jane, as her name was told, and also her father and mother, Edward and Elizabeth Eason, such meager fare as they could spare, but the growl of empty stomachs was to be heard throughout the rude lodgings pretentiously styled the town of His Majesty, King James, like the presage of thunder before a savage storm soon to break.

"I fear the winter months ahead" said Jane.  "I know I am just a foolish girl, not permitted to question my elders, but methinks it were unwise to put at odds these salvadges, our neighbors,  when soon we might need repair to them for sustenance in the cold months that follow."

Precocious, of fetching mien, this Jane is like to grow up to become a most comely lass indeed, but one must surely fear for her safety in the dead and desperation of  the wintertime crouching like a ravening wolf in the snow-laden thickets of the waning year.  This girl of fourteen summers may prove wiser than her elders, even as she pays the terrible price of their foolishness.  A rapprochement with the salvadges, such as Pocohontas hath put forward, may be the only thing that saves this young woman and many more like her,  thrown ashore by the fierce and malevolent storm conjured at sea.

It was then, the good chaplain Robert Hunt burst in upon everyone's reveries, quite breathless from exertion or fear.

"The Devil is no longer abroad," quoth he.  "The Devil is among us!  Come quick, as you love the Lord, and put ye on the full armor of God!"



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A Figure of Speechless

T'was all a-gloom within the Fort of King James, the moonless night relieved only by the flickering campfires chasing the branched darkness of the surrounding forest with grotesque shadows as of demons dancing around the flimsy palisade.

"What hast thou beheld, Chaplain Hunt, that shoulds't bring thee to our company with such dire warning?" Temperance inquired with a whisper.

"I alone hold the key to the storeroom, Mistress Temperance," that worthy chaplain replied.  "It was entrusted to me by the Council amidst the roiling hunger of Jamestown, to avoid the same accusation that brought low the former President, Edward Wingfield.  And yet, as I passed the locked door of the storeroom scant minutes past, I heard a voice calling from within.  A deep voice that made the very earth tremble underfoot, it seemeth to pray.  I speak some Latin, as most clerics do.  But this Latin was different from any I know, strangely accented and constructed.  I made out but a few words, per illud nomen per quod Salomon contringebat dæmones, & conclusit ipsos & congregantes brunneis vermes - which I took to mean "by that name that Salomon did bind the divels, and shut them up, gathering the brown vermin".  T'was then I knew the Devil was among us and I sought thee out then to enlist the aid of thy sturdy companions."

The five came upon the squat, windowless storehouse, no flimsy mud-and-stud construction, but solid logs rough-hewn and set together impenetrable.  A door was found in the midst of them and about it a chain passed round the door post to secure the sole entrance with a sturdy iron padlock.  With trembling hands, the worthy chaplain took out a key.  There was no sound except the crackling of camp fires and a faint rustling from within.

"Ward thee well, sturdy adventurers, for I fear a great evil awaits, God save us!" whispered the Chaplain, but there had been no need, for the stalwart companions of Temperance had already limbered swords and cocked wheel lock pistols.  One amongst them, Samuell Scarlett, had set a torch alight, wielding sword with his other hand.  Temperance herself hefted a staff with surprising skill and menace for one so fair.

The padlock clicked open and the chain slithered to the ground.

They entered then the storehouse and at first saw nothing beyond shadows flickering within, hellish to their clenched nerves.  But as they came within the confines of the storehouse, the torch almost outened in the wind of something foul, like brimstone, and they saw before them a shadowy figure like unto a man standing motionless at the far end of the building with its back turned to them, no face visible, amidst bins and vessels that held the precious corn no doubt brought hither from the village of the Nansemond salvadges most recently raided.

"Stay, stay!  Make no sudden moves lest we strike thee down where you stand," quoth Henry Ravens, and still that hunched figure in the dampened torchlight remained motionless, turned not to face them.  Ravens drew closer, closer, until he could reach out and touch the shoulder of the speechless figure.

And touching it, to the amazement and horror of all within, rats dropped from that huddled mass to the floor in a swarm!  More and more seemed to boil up from crevices beneath the planked floor, a myriad of entrances too small for human passage admitting them, red eyes and sharp white teeth.  There was no fighting the vicious swarm, one could slash a rat in twain and two more would leap to take their fallen comrade's place.  Fighting with all might and main, nevertheless the adventurers were forced back to the door from whence they entered the abode of rats. 

At the last of the retreat, Americus Leftwich beheld a horror in the midst of nightmare.  One of the rats, seemingly with a sneering human face and the like of human hands, appeared before him in their midst, their ghastly leader mayhap.  No coward, the former privateer gave fire with his trusty pistol, a single shot but somehow the evil creature twisted out of the way or the ball itself were sucked into an unsuspected void.  The creature with unblinking, carious yellow eyes shrieked an inhuman curse (Miska!) and the brown tide of hundreds of rats surged forward in an irresistible wave.  There was nothing to do but escape or fall beneath them.

They closed the door and swiftly locked it again, while the scrabbling of claws could be heard from within.  Breathing heavily, the adventurers awaited a fresh onslaught, but none came.  

"I must go and summon the Council," husked the pale-faced Chaplain.  "For the love of God, keep that horrible thing contained until I return with the militia!"

And so they stood guard in the wake of Hunt's departure, keeping eye on the door and tending the small wounds caused by the sharp teeth of the vermin, thanking God for protection from the rat-demon - for what else could it be - fired upon by Americus, who, shaken by the experience, thoroughly checked his wheel lock pistol over and over again to see if aught in its mechanism could provide natural explanation for his missing the beast at point-blank range.


Edited by Julich1610
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A Stab in the Dark

The Chaplain left for the Council to sound the alarum almost half an hour past, but there was no beating to arms in Jamestown, no marching feet en route to the storehouse.  Jamestown was not a large place.  Something was wrong, the remaining adventurers realized soon enough.

Samuel Scarlett was missing a dagger.  The design was distinctive.  The blade was long, double-edged and had a vine engraved upon it, with stylized grapes of wrath.  The hilt and pommel were worked in hammered bronze.  The handle was wood wrapped in leather.  It was made by a weaponsmith of Blidworth village in Nottinghamshire, where t'is said Will Scarlett lies buried at the edge of Sherwood forest.  A present from Samuel's father.  T'was this dagger relieved the corrupt tax gatherer from all his burdens.  The scabbard worn horizontal on his belt, Samuel must think in all the fray and commotion inside the storehouse his dagger slipped to the ground unnoticed, but he had no desire to retrieve it from Ratkins, as he named the thing Americus saw, to make it less dreadful an apparition.  Not until reinforcements arrived.

But no reinforcements had come.

"Let's find him," Temperance said.  So she and Samuel made their way toward the larger buildings set along the palisade nearest the forest, Americus and Henry Ravens left to ward the storehouse and its occupant.  There was a vague sighing of wind on the moonless night, a slight chill in the air.

Samuel almost stumbled into the body of the Chaplain on the ground before him.  Robert Hunt was still, somehow, alive, though his clothes were sticky with blood and a dagger stuck in his back. 

"Doctor...doctor..." he  breathed, with difficulty.  But, of course, this was Jamestown.  There would be no doctor, unless they could reach the ship's doctor aboard the Virginia.  But the poor man hadn't the time.  He hadn't a prayer.  Without another word, he was gone.  

 It was just then that a torch and 12 of the militia came round the corner of a nearby wattle and daub shop with thatched roof.

The leader barked an order.  Ready piece! said he.  And the 11 militia men did uncork the fine powder and fill the pans of their matchlocks, their match cords glowing red.

"Now then," said the leader, "what's all this then, eh?"

Temperance and Samuel stood up to explain.

Present piece!   The militia men took aim with their matchlock muskets.

The next order, "give fire", would doubtless produce a most unfortunate result as some if not all of the one ounce balls of the muskets struck their bodies with terrific force.  Sometimes, the shock alone of a single ball was enough to kill.  Temperance and Samuel raised their hands slowly over their heads.  Two of the militia men came forward with short lengths of rope to tie their hands behind their backs.  Meanwhile, the leader examined the body of the fallen chaplain on the ground. 

He pulled the dagger from the man's back.  "Ah, here's a pretty thing" he said, holding up a dagger engraved with the grapes of wrath gleaming in the torchlight.  The leader looked down at Samuel's belt. 

"Seems like ye be missing something, friend," the militia sergeant continued, sliding the dagger that killed the chaplain of Jamestown into Samuel's scabbard.  It fit.

"Begging yer pardon, friend," said the leader.  "But when they be hanging you and your accomplice, it won't be with the benefit of clergy...you will have to say your own prayers!"




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Tribes and Tribunals

The walls of the barracks seemed too close a confine for the night, especially with hands and feet tied to prevent their escape, but the adventurers realized it was more for their own protection  that the militia sergeant, Masters, had roughly and quickly jostled them to their destination.  It were plain as day to Sergeant Masters that Sam Scarlett had murdered their beloved chaplain, Robert Hunt, to get his key to the storehouse, had he not been apprehended in the very act.  Everyone was hungry, but it took a particularly ungodly scoundrel to murder a man of the cloth to fill his or her own belly with the provender kept safe for the benefit of all.  As word of the crime spread, an angry crowd began to gather round the storehouse.

Sam and Temperance tried to explain how it were Ratkins the unholy demon rather, had wrought such woe, perhaps taking the shape of a man (he had the hands to hold the dagger, of course!) to accomplish the foul deed.  One of the younger militiamen sniggered and another made a circle with forefinger at his temple to indicate the addled condition of the bearers of such tales.  As if that would save them from the gallows in the morning!  But it was worse than they thought.  When the chaplain's key was produced by Masters and used to unlock the storehouse, to the horror of the assembled crowd, the colony's stores had been all but completely devoured!  Even the dead rats were gone, perhaps devoured by their fellows, so but for a few bloodstains on the ground, there were no corroborating evidence to support what must now seem the wildest of tales indeed.  The crowd grew dark and fierce, like a storm in the offing.

"Ye filthy swine, hath devoured the whole winter's store of corn!  Murderers indeed, not only of our chaplain, but of all who live here.  Hang 'em, I says, hang 'em forthwith!"

"Now then, sirrah," the Sergeant reasoned with the man in the crowd while idly sighting along along the bore of his wheel lock pistol, "all must be done in accordance with the laws of our good King James.  I have little doubt justice will be served upon these villains and they will doubtless swing upon the morrow.  Aye, justice must surely await them.  So then, must we wait and not ourselves transgress to anticipate the wheels of justice."

As there was little they could do when faced with a dozen muskets other than die for whatever cause they might espouse too devoutly to preserve even life and limb, so the unhappy villagers did not lynch them on the spot, but rather shouted their threats and imprecations.  Americus and Henry Ravens wisely attempted to melt into the crowd, shouting villainy upon their own comrades to complete the disguise, but little Jane came forward to inform on the companions of the criminals or perhaps it was the grumbling of her belly denounced them.  Americus and Henry Ravens were taken into custody perforce by Sergeant Masters and the militia, while the crowd grew more voluble in its maledictions against the supposed perpetrators.  Mud balls were presently slung; fortunately stones were in short supply within the palisade walls. Dirty, disheveled and expecting to hang in the morning, the hapless adventurers were taken to the barracks, roped and kept secure under guard until their last day on earth should commence, sooner than one might hope or hold back.

Shortly after the break of that day, bedraggled, the adventurers were dragged unceremoniously through the crowded streets, pelted with mud balls, spat upon and cursed by all:

"Murderers!  But not the chaplain alone.  Us!  By thy gluttony, thou hast taken the food from our babes' very mouths!  How many will starve this winter without corn because of thy knavery? Villains!  Hang them!"

They entered the largest building along the North wall, the courtroom where the tribunal awaited to pass judgment.  There were three who sat behind a sententious table, all gentry, one identified as the self-same Gabriel Archer who turned Pocahontas away at the gate.  Foremost among them was the Council President, no less than George Percy himself, who bore the staff of his office and wouldst be chief among their judges.  Another man, of severe mien, as though of recently survived illness, also a member of the gentry, stroked his beard and considered them with no friendliness in his hard, bright eyes, as he also sat himself at the bench before which the captives stood to be judged.

"Thith cawt ith now in thethun," quoth the worthy Magistrate Percy.

Archer was the prosecutor and quite skilled in his practice.  All had heard stories of how this same Archer had nearly had Captain John Smith hung but for the arrival of the second supply fleet under Captain Christopher Newport in the nick of time.  And the Adventurers had far fewer friends than Smith in Jamestown.  Any protest they made was waved aside and a guard stepped forward with a threat to smite them on the mouth with the back of his mailed fist to enjoin a proper respect for the dignity of the court and its proceedings.  A grim verdict, therefore, seemed all but a foregone conclusion.

It was then Captain Davis from their ship, Virginia, entered the courtroom.

"Begging your pardon, milords.  I have here a commission from no less a personage than the Earl of Salisbury, Robert Cecil, to testify before this tribunal in all confidence."

Even Percy, the highest ranking gentleman among the colonists of Jamestown paled at the mention of Cecil's name.  His father, a Catholic conspirator who sought the crowning of Mary, Queen of Scots, died in the Tower, while his brother,  Henry Percy, ninth earl of Northumberland, was nearly hung himself on a charge of association with the Gunpowder Plot, but narrowly escaped with a heavy fine that forced him - not that he was unwilling by any means, the bounder! - to ship his younger brother George off to Virginia where he would have little opportunity to spend (George Percy had expensive tastes in clothes and lavish banquets) what little remained of the family fortune.

The justices passed the commission provided by Captain Davis of the Virginia amongst themselves.

"Yes, milords," the good Captain continued.  "These rogues have a mission from the Earl of Salisbury to accomplish on behalf of our King, God save his royal majesty!  Afterwards, you may hang them by the neck at your leisure for the murder of your chaplain.  Meanwhile, they remain under orders.  And if what we seek is found, it would be most fitting and proper a share be apportioned for the common weal of Jamestown and its worthy governors, by my faith."

"We also have a mission to undertake, if this colony is to survive," said the hard-eyed gentleman on the tribunal.  "Mr. Archer in his haste and, may I say, less than diplomatic zeal, hath single-handedly severed trade relations with the only people who might provide sustenance this winter for not only the freshly arrived and manifestly destitute colonists, but also now for everyone,  since that we have suffered the contents of our storehouse to be devoured by...was it rats, they claimed?  Some leader of Jamestown must parley with the salvadges, I reckon, for corn to sustain us through the winter ahead."

"And who do you propose should hazard so perilous a venture, Ratcliffe?" Archer hissed.  "Thyself?"

John Ratcliffe sighed.   "Captain Smith, of course, if he were up to the task.  None other speaks the salvadge language so well and that salvadge maid doth love him, methinks.  But I shall go in his stead, for our cause is desperate without store of corn for the winter."

"Ah, milord," said Captain Davis.  "Perhaps thou hast not heard; Captain Smith now lies dead.  I heard these very words proceed from Mr. Archer's own lips when he spoke to the salvadge maiden at the gate of Jamestown."

"The version of the truth offered to the salvadges by the admirable Mr. Archer," Ratcliffe said with a slight smile, "hath not to its credit the three legal virtues of being the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!" 


George Percy, born Sept 4, 1580 in Sussex

Edited by Julich1610
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A Traitor in Our Midst

There was for the space of three breaths an astonishment in the courtroom.

"Smith lives?" Temperance broke the silence at last.

"Aye, he does indeed," Ratcliffe continued.  "Though badly injured.  A bag of powder resting upon his leg somehow were touched off returning from an expedition to the Falls , gravely wounding Captain Smith.  Since thy arrival, he has been ably tended by your own ship's doctor, Stewart Duncan, but we fear the Captain must return hence to England to fully recover from his injury."

"Why then lie to Pocahontas that Smith was dead?"  Temperance asked.

"It was Smith's own idea," Archer growled.  "The girl t'is but thirteen years of age and foolish in her love for Smith, who is twenty-nine.  He feared she would insist on going back to England with him and she is the key, so he says, to peace with the salvadges, apple that she is in the eye of the Powhatan, her father.  Her English is most accomplished and furthermore our late Chaplain, Robert Hunt, whom you murthered, believed she would become the first convert in this New World.  As a Christian, she could help restore the peace, he also believed."

"A peace that is strained now, thanks to Smith's aggressive policies," Ratcliffe said.

"That bwame must be thared with the thalvadgeth themthelveth," Percy lisped.  "We thet fawth onwy to twade with the Nanthemond for cawn and they captured two of the methengers we thent them, thcwaping their bwains fwom out of their heads with muthel thells.  To weturn thuch injawy, we beat the thalvadgeth out of their ithland, burned their howtheth,  wanthacked their templeth, took down the corptheth of their dead kingth fwom off their tombths, and cawied away their pearlth, copper, and bwatheleth wherewith they do decore their kingth' funewalth."

It was then Lieutenant Benjamin Owen, second in command aboard Virginia made his way into the courtroom.  After a whispered conversation with Captain Davis, the latter announced, "It would seem our ship's doctor, Steward Duncan, hath made off with our shallop, last seen headed across the James River on a mission unknown.  Bloody Scotsman - is he mad!"

Ratcliffe started.  "Scotsman, you say?"

"Aye.  From Morham in East Lothian, he said.  Learned his craft at St. Andrews."

Lieutenant Owen took out a letter which Captain Davis declared had been found among the Doctor's belongings after he made his escape on the shallop:

”You Christians are treacherous and obstinate. When you have any strong desire, you depart from your master and have recourse to me; but when your desire is accomplished, you turn your back on me as your enemy, and you go back to your God, who being benign and merciful, pardons you and receives you willingly. But make me a promise, written and signed by your own hand, that you voluntarily renounce Christ and your Baptism and promise that you will adhere and be with me to the day of judgment, and after that you will rejoice yourself with me to suffer eternal pains; and I will accomplish your desire.”

"He soundeth the very devil!' said Archer.

"You perhaps do not know this," Ratcliffe said.  "But Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell, was also from East Lothian and a cousin to our King.  A well-educated man but rash and tempestuous - he did break in upon our good King James at Holyrood Palace, to hold him hostage, demanding pardon for earlier treason.  But In the year of the Armada, he was Lord High Admiral of Scotland.  T'was then, I saw him, though barely a seaman myself, when he was so lofty a person, replete with honor and courage in the face of overwhelming odds at sea, such that I never forgot his noble visage."

"And stranger still, I thought I saw him again last night.  It was dark, but for a moment I saw in the firelight the flash of that well-remembered face, though older now by twenty years.  I followed the phantom, but he disappeared in the shadows again.  Bothwell was accused of being a witch and a traitor to his King, exiled from England forever.  Yet he is here.  Perhaps the story of rats you tell is not so much a fable as first I believed it to be.  As a witch, Bothwell would have such commerce, being the Devil's rat himself.  With this letter as evidence, I would move all charges against your persons be dropped."

"I agwee and Mr. Archer I thee from his nod, altho athents" said the Council President, George Percy.  "Sergeant, fwee them."

"We must perforce go to Captain Smith at once," Temperance said.  "He may be in grave danger if the Earl of Bothwell hath been his guest."

  "I shall accompany you myself, milady,"  Ratcliffe replied.  "Sargeant, bring the guards!"









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John Ratcliffe led them out secretly by the back door, whilst the Council President Percy stepped out by the main door of the courtroom to speak soft words and reasonable with the crowd gathered there to await the execution of the Adventurers, him speaking rather upon the treachery and witchcraft of Bothwell among them .  Silent and stealthy, Ratcliffe and the heroes stole through Jamestown's streets to an unimposing lodging close at hand against the walls and entered into the sickroom of the Captain John Smith, former President of James Towne.  They ascertained no harm had befallen the Captaine at the hands of Bothwell whom as ship's doctor had tended him.  Smith wondered at the intelligence received that this was no less than a traitor to the King, the 5th Earl of Bothwell.  He remembered the doctor saying only that not all the Lords of England and Scotland were unmindful of the service done England by the son of a mere farmer tenant, fighting abroad in the Low Countries as he did and then risking life and limb to pursue the interests of England in Virginia.  The doctor even said he had long been admirer and indeed tended his wound with due skill, perhaps even helping to save his life.

"T'was even reported abroad," quoth the Earl of Bothwell in physician's guise.  "Thou ordained for the good gentlemen of this colony should they not work then they should also not set to table.  It would be like no such ordinance would be well received among the genteel residents of this Salvage land, but well-spoken t'was nonetheless!"

Yet he was wan and drawn, the Captain but a shadow of his most gallant former self, and following introduction, explained what befell him upon his return from the Falles where the Salvages did beseech him for the behavior of these freshly arrived English sent upriver, a disorderly company who so tormented those poore soules by stealing their corne, robbing their gardens, beating them, breaking their houses and keeping some prisoners.  Worse enemies than the Monacans, they complained to Smith, those he had brought them for Protectors.   He had little choice in judging the matter than to set sayle again for James Towne with all those who would come.  No sooner had they left than the Salvadges assaulted those hundred and twentie remaining in their Fort near the Falles, slaying many.  Thus the peace between the Powhatan and the Colony was broken, so possessed were those in the Fort near the Falles with their great guilded hopes of the South Sea Mines rumor and wishful thinking doth madly conceive.  But Smith parleyed with the Salvadges on behalf of those colonists of Non-such, as they called the Fort and appeased the Powhatan so that peace was restored once again.

T'was then Captaine Smith, whilst asleep in his Boate returning with all expedition  to Jamestown after his successful negotiations once more with the Powhatan, accidentallie or so it is reported, suffered the firing of his powder-bag, which tore the flesh from his body and thighes, nine or ten inches square in a most pittiful manner; but to quench the tormenting fire, frying him in his cloaths he leaped overboard, where ere they could recover him he was neere drowned.  In this estate, with neither Chirugian, or Chirugery, he was to goe neere an hundred myles.

It is clear that Captain Smith did not have more regard for the arrival of the Third Supply Fleet as it had been an invasion of Spanyards, in which his many friends among the Salvages had long been ready to ayd and assist with their best power.  In facte, had it so beene, he said, he had beene happy; for we would not have trusted them but as our foes, where as receiving them as our Countrymen and friends, they did what they could to murther our President, to surprise the Store, the Fort, and our lodgings, to usurpe the government, and make us all their servants and slaves, till they could consume us and our remembrance; and rather indeed to supplant us than supply us...

"Poore soule," quoth Ratcliffe, "he doth rave with the fever occasioned by his injurie...it were well we returned him to England soon for his convalescence.  Dost thou have other questions, milady?"

"Indeed I have many, kind sir," said Temperance, "but most of all as pertains to the ship he reported in his correspondence with the Earle of Salisbury had been espied by him upon these very shores."

After a drynke, Captaine Smith then told them of the expedition of George Percy to the Nansemond, fine President he, who upon little pretext traded the trading mission for destruction and conquest of that people, even robbing the tombs of their former kings in his avarice, his guilded hope of riches.  Smith came to Dumpling island in his shallop where yet another warre was brewing with the Salvages and there espied further up the Nansemond river what he took to be the wreck of an English vessel grounded upon the Eastern shore.  Though he parleyed with the fierce Nansemond, now adopting the red and black warpaint of their fearsome deity, the Okeus, to revenge their ancestors, there was naught to be done with the countrie stirring behind them but flee downriver upon his shallop, the wreck left unexplored.  In fact, even his faithful shallop lies hidden yet at the mouth of the Nansemond river, the men taking the longboats lowered from the newly arrived ship Unitie to bring them safe from the arrowes starting to fly,

Though any retracing of his perilous steps be like to bring doom rather than riches, the gallant company of Adventurers now knew where they must goe and taking leave of Captain Smith with all solicitation for his recovery from such wounds, in England, they set their caps for the mission ahead, to find the wreck of the English ship of which Smith spoke.  Who else could it be but the survivors of Roanoke, if the ship were not from James Towne?






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At the Virginia, after they boarded ship, Ratcliffe took the Adventurers aside.  

"I dare not speak of this before the Council, even before Smith, who is usually found as the hero of all his own tales, but you must know that Archer and Smith have it out for each other.  Archer even went so far as to urge Smith's hanging for the death of his two men at the hands of the Pamunkey.  Any who know them both must doubt what happened to Smith was an accident."

"Another thing you must know, shortly after Archer last returned to England,  a map fell into the hands of the Spanish ambassador in London, Don Pedro de Zuniga.  The map depicts our fort here but no instructions on where it lies. Archer's parents were fined for non-attendance at their local church.  We suspect them as devout Catholics.  The son as well?"   

"Whoever made that map was not a naval man.  The Earl of Bothwell, however, former Admiral of the Scottish navy, is such a man.  He is also known to have taken service with the Spanyards following his exile from England.  We fear he has obtained the coordinates of Jamestown and is now headed for a rendezvous with a Spanish galleon prowling the coasts of Virginia with information that would allow them to launch an attack against us.  We believe Bothwell took ship in the company of a guide named Naurians, a servant of the salvadge Werowance Arahatec, who rules a village just below the Fall line, with whom Archer had much friendship.  This Naurians also returned with Smith's expedition to the Falles line and could be the one who fired Smith's powder bag."

"We charge you, by good King James, that you stop the traitor from reporting our location to the Spanyards, if God give you the opportunity.  Captaine Davis will drop you at the mouth of the Nansemond where you must locate Captaine Smith's shallop to take you upriver to Dumpling Island.  There, you may seek the wreckage of the English ship espied by Captaine Smith.  Captaine Davis, meanwhile, will take command of Fort Algernon on Point Comfort across the river to prepare a warm welcome for any Spanyards who might venture into the James."

"Meanwhile, I will seek parley with the Pamunkey to obtain corne for the coming winter.  May God speed you and watch over you until your return with a rich prize for King, Country and the Virginia Company!"    


  Zuniga's map 

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The Pursuit

The Virginia hove close to the eaves of the thickly wooded banks of the southern shoreline, a mile distant across the James River, searching for a sign of the wicked Earl and his guide.  The dark palisade of tree trunks presented a forbidding, sentinel aspect to some of the Adventurers, who like most of the Londoners deposited on these shores. were not altogether comfortable with the primitive woodlands of verily this New World.  The upper story of the forest, reaching nearly a hundred feet, was a mix of water-loving, evergreen loblolly pines, towering red oaks with leaves beginning to turn deep scarlet in the first autumn chill and sweet gums casting their dense aromatic pall.  In the under story of thirty feet, the holly with its slightly poisonous red berries and deciduous dogwood with smooth leaves cupped like a prayer for rain in this long drought, worst in living memory, so the Salvadges saith.  Interspersed therein were also pignut hickory, red mulberry, black walnut, wound about with shrubs and vines and briers.  

Were it not for the over-hunting of the deer in  the Eastern lowlands, a staple of the Powhatan diet, there would be no hope for the expedition.  The Salvadges were foragers and found many foodstuffs in the natural world to partake: maize, turkeys, fish trapped in weirs, mussels, beaver tail (a delicacy), turtles, rattlesnakes, the occasional black bear,  but the deer were paramount.  Only the great chief, the Powhatan and his brother, kept store of provision in their villages.  For the most part, the Powhatan people, including the Nansemond, must live on what the land and their heathen god, red and black Okeus, proffered their industry.  Without that industry, bellies would go empty.  The Powhatan earned a reputation among the English as prodigious eaters - when they set to table, they did not rise again until the meal be consumed in its entirety.  But late in winter, early in spring, they must live on whatever fat yet remained on their bodies.  Without the deer, little fat would be on their ribs when needed for sustenance.

Of great importance then was the annual deer hunt, both a solemn ceremony and festive occasion, when the healthy men and women of the tribes would gather above the Falles to await Okeus' omen, a sign of where the people should begin the fire-hunt, encircling the herds of deer and setting fires, moving inward with the circle, dancing closer to the hemmed in herd,  driving the animals into the closing ring where they could be shot by the hunters en masse.  Then the women would descend on their fallen prey to clean them, most of the deer skins to be rendered to The Powhatan as tribute.  There would be feasting and celebration and magic and displays of manliness.  Also, the occasional trespass into Monacan territory, leading to strife if Okeus so willed.  Marriages would be arranged, boys would be blooded with their first kills, stories would be told, songs would be sung, fires would blaze in the hills above the Falles, until the people were sated, fattened on the deer to survive the winter months ahead.

This was their best chance,  Captain Smith had said, of venturing up the Nansemond.  While the hunt was in full career, only those who were too old or too immature for travel would remain behind, the long houses lightly guarded until the hunters' return.  If they did not stumble into a village, they could attempt the river, tributary of the James, in Captain Smith's shallop, unchallenged.  Of course, that blackguard Bothwell with his native guide in Virginia's stolen shallop, must be somewhat ahead of them, planning a rendezvous with his Spanish allies, no doubt.  Captain Davis, aboard The Virginia, well knew his tiny pinnace was no match on the James faced with a galleon.  Outgunned by the Spanish ship, thirty guns to Virginia's eight, his doughty vessel, first of American manufacture, like as not would be blown to flinders.  The vantage of those guns at Fort Algernon, in addition to those already emplaced, however, would offer a more commanding sweep of the river, should any Spanyard attempt it.  There was a race on betwixt English Captain and Spanyard, with the fate of Jamestowne awaiting the finish!

At last, the entrance to the Nansemond hove into sight, some 12 leagues down the James from Jamestowne proper.  The longboats were lowered and Captain Davis advised them when they had returned from their mission, they should shoot off their muskets, the report of which would call forth the Virginia again to recover them and hopefully whatever treasure they had discovered.  They were landed at the mouth of the Nansemond, two miles wide where it met the James,  and set about scouring the undergrowth for Smith's shallop. 

But It were two boats they found at the mouth of the Nansemond.  One assuredly Captain Smith's doughty shallop, well-hidden for later retrieval, evidently much used in Smith's expeditions to map the Chesapeack, the great shellfish waters.  But there was another boat, the shallop belonging to the Virginia, at the edge of the river.  The Earl of Bothwell had taken to the shore here ahead of them, the Adventurers surmised.

The crew retrieved her own shallop to Virginia, to be used if word need be sent to Jamestowne of an approaching galleon, while the landing party of Bill Parnell, gruff in his brown greatcoat, with a tri-corner hat and bearing a matchlock, along with Gazali, a towering mulatto of uncertain origin with bulging, muscled arms,  a matchlock, machete, and fierce, glowering mien, were told off by the Lieutenant to assist the Adventurers as both guards and rowers if necessary to make their way upstream.  The longboats returned to the Virginia and the Adventurers made Captain Smith's shallop ready.  They were on their own as the river lapped against the shores of the forest made now ominous by proximity to that witch and traitor to the Crown, Bothwell.


Edited by Julich1610
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The Encounter at Dumpling Island

The mouth of the Nansemond River soon narrowed from two miles to 100 feet wide but a few miles upriver.  A southerly flow of air brought with it a chill, but welcome billow to the sail of John Smith's shallop and they progressed, reaching by mid-day a small island in the channel where a native house had once stood but was now burned to ashes.  The Powhatan made houses called Yihakan, like "gardein arbours, between two parallel rows of red cedar or black locust saplings set in the ground at one foot intervals, lashed together with fibrous roots at the top to form a barrel-shaped roof.  The framework was then covered with mats made of marsh reeds for walls and a small doorway was also covered thus.  The Yihakan were usually built leeward of a grove of trees, to protect the flimsy structures from storms.  A smoke hole in the roof allowed a fire in the midst to provide illumination and cooking.  The only permanent furniture was provided by large bedsteads on both sides of the central fire pit, staked frameworks perhaps four feet in width, covered with mats and skins for blankets to warm the inhabitants during the cold months.

But there was nothing left on the small island where they disembarked to obtain fresh water from the spring that once provided the inhabitants with potable water  given the salinity of the brackish Nansemond river, tidal at this stage like the James itself.  The corn from the fields near the house had been abruptly harvested.  A dugout canoe was broken on the bank.  There were skeletons yet half-sunk into the mud, some of children, without proper Christian burial.  And a few musket balls gleamed dully among the shattered gourds and broken rusty red ceramic pots, signifying the visitation of violence by the English upon the salvadges who once lived here.  With their waterskins refreshed, the Adventurers made their way silently from the scene, disturbing as little as possible the tableau of terror and death that presented itself.  Without written records of their own, there was no epitaph to read who they had been.

They spent the night moored not far from the island, for ghosts rarely crossed water, it was said.  But the Adventurers, along with Bill Parnell and Gazali from Viginia, remained vigilant through the darkness so profoundly descended from heaven one was minded of a dungeon pit were it not for the chill but fresh air.

The next morning, they set off again, still having the breeze to billow their sail, moving them up the Nansemond.  By mid-day, the rounded hill of Dumpling Island, came into view ahead, named thus by the English, no one remembered how it had once been called by the Nansemond people themselves.  Even from afar, it was obviously a scene of destruction.  Captain John Martin, under the direction of Captain Smith, had settled with 120 men here at the cult center, the heart of the Nansemond people, but earlier this summer.  On little pretense, the men of his command then made war unjustly on the Nansemond, capturing their chieftain, firing the temples of their worship, the places of dancing under the stars, and despoiled the tombs of the their ancestors, seeking pearls in return for the investment by the Virginia Company.  Scant was the gleaning from the dead, but ripe the harvest of warfare that followed when Martin's men were forced to retreat with great loss by the attacking Nansemond, who also freed their chief.  But the Nansemond left Dumpling Island, despoiled by the intruders, as it was, perhaps a mute prayer for vengeance to their god Okeus.

The river narrowed at Dumpling Island and John Smith's sloop was forced into closer proximity to the hill overlooking the river.  The Powhatan preferred to make their settlements on hillsides overlooking the river, to watch all approaches, so it was perhaps no surprise when a light rain of arrows fell down from the hillside even as the clouds gathered over the river.  A feathered arrow pierced Bill Parnell's hat but missed his noggin.  A small party of Nansemond on a trail above the river were descried, painted with the red and black warpaint of Okeus, armed with bows and hatchets.  Samuel Scarlett quickly made his bow ready, fitted an arrow and took aim.  The flight was true and a salvadge youth crouching in the undergrowth doubled up, falling with a crash into the river below.  The muskets of Bill Parnell and Gazali rang out and though they missed their targets, the sheer echoing report of them drove the salvadge youths with yips and cries back under cover from whence they dare not stir.  A larger war party could have rained death on the boat, but it was fortunate that the bulk of the mature warriors were a-hunting above the Falles line.

The shallop continued along the Nansemond until it came close to the head of the river, beyond which further progress could not be made unless it were overland.  It was at that place the Adventurers did discover a larger boat, no dugout but an English ship indeed, run aground on the Eastern bank of the shallow river.  Cautiously, they approached it.  



Edited by Julich1610
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