Sunday, July 12, 2015

Coureur de Bois

Little Miami River through Clifton Gorge (Source)
The Beginning...

Just audible over the burbling of the small brook there was a cry. Not the sort of noise made by a four legged animal. It was a human sound. A cry of terror.

And of pain.

Weeish looked at me for a moment, eyebrow cocked.

A quick nod from me and we headed towards the sound.


A musket shot, another scream, we were close.

Staying under cover we drew near, in time to see the last of the whites fall to the ground, his musket still in his hand, the long arrow protruding from his chest signifying that his hair would be decorating a lodge pole before nightfall.

Weeish and I stayed under cover, there was nothing we could do for the small party of men who even now were being plundered of whatever useful items their conquerors might make use of.

The Onandowagas moved off, exultant as they headed back for their village. They now had muskets and powder. Fine knives of steel and heavy wool clothing to cover themselves in winter. It was a good kill.

"Weeish..." I murmured as I stepped out of the brush, signaling him to keep his eyes open.

I heard a small moan, there under a small bush was one of the church fathers. His face was bloody, his cassock torn, but he was alive. Barely.

Kneeling beside him, he moaned again as he beheld my visage, no doubt thinking me one of the people of this land. For I had lived many years with the People, I dressed like them, I ate the same foods. All that was left of my native France was my name, Alain.

I put my finger to the man's lips, motioning that he should remain silent and that I was no threat. I checked his wounds, they were mortal. There was no doubt in my mind that he would soon be standing before the Great Spirit.

I was ready to leave him to his fate and began to stand when he grabbed my sleeve.

"My child, do not leave me like this..." he managed to gasp.

I leaned close to his ear, there was no telling who was about in these woods, Weeish and I were a long way from our home.

"Father, you must be quiet, soon you will see Jesus."

He shifted slightly, causing blood to flow anew. He was killing himself faster by trying to speak.

"My name is..."

"Shhh, be quiet Father, your name is not..."

"My name is Father Etienne Gaudry, I am of France and I carry dispatches for the commander at Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, they must..."

Gasping again, the priest pushed a wad of bloody papers into my hands.

"Take these, please..."

And then he breathed his last.

Weeish was now at my side.

"Brother, we must go. The Onandowagas are coming back."

Swiftly we melted back into the woods from whence we had come. Not knowing what to do with them, and not wanting to leave any sign for the Onandowagas to follow, I shoved the bloody papers under my shirt. I would think on them when we were safely back at our hearth.

The End...

Colonel Louis Alain Gaudry shifted in his saddle as he looked out over the fields, littered with the dead, the dying and the detritus of war. His aide coughed to get his attention.

"Be patient Michel, les Anglais are in no hurry to move and the Prussian dogs are already howling down the road to France. We are in no danger at the moment."

Knowing that those words were false as soon as he uttered them, the old dragoon turned his horse. Leaving his regiment behind, most of them still on the field. Dead or soon to be.

All was lost.

His father had been right after all, he should never have left America.

So I have decided to try my hand at writing a novel. All the cool kids are doing it.

I have been toying with this idea for years. I've written a chapter here and there, some of them were good, some, not so much. Not a single one was related to any of the other things I had written. I was playing at being a writer.

Then along came the blog. This blog. I was writing more or less every day. I say more or less because some of my posts have been very pictorial in nature with just a few words tossed in to glue together the pictures. Not really writing but creative nevertheless.

Write what you know they say. So this won't be about flying, or tanks, or science fiction. Nope, it will be about people. The people who make things work, not the movers and the shakers but the "little" guy, the guy who goes to work every day, pays his taxes and just wants to be left alone.

Until the movers and shakers go too far.

Then the "little" guy shoulders his musket and makes a stand.

Whether this turns into a book or a series of books remains to be seen. I have lots of stuff in my head and the rough beginnings of a plot stretching over a bit less than a century.

From the dark primordial forests of North America in the years just prior to the Seven Years War to the rolling plains of Belgium as the last cannon sound out on the field of Waterloo.  That's the stage upon which my characters will walk, that is the setting for my story.

I mean I have the beginning and the ending. All I need to do now is fill in all the bits between.

Should be simple.



  1. Well....I AM excited! Put me down for the first copy!

    Oh BTW, when's the next chapter coming out? Just Kidding. Seriously, good luck, and anything I can do to help.

    1. Heh.

      Thanks Juvat. I see serious work in my future. What was I thinking?

  2. Good luck. With your writing talents it should be a really good one. I can't wait to read it!

  3. Replies
    1. Saga, that's exactly the word I was looking for.

  4. Yaaaaaaayyyy!

    Kind of the reverse of sculpting, (insert Canadian 'eh')? Instead of chipping away everything that's not the subject, you add everything that's "the middle." I wish you all the very best as you embark on this exciting journey. You're gonna have fuuunnn!

    Too also as well and additionally, you may have unknowingly applied the toe of your boot to the backside of my recalcitrant muse...

    1. I am looking forward to it, though with some trepidation.

      As to your own Muse, yes, I was starting to wonder...


  5. I'm excited, you've chosen a fascinating time period and your words paint a picture filled with promise.

    1. 'Tis the living up to that promise that's tough. But we'll give it a go.

  6. If the rest is like the teaser I say GO. Put me on the mailing list for a first edition.

    1. Thanks SoCal, I'm in for the long haul I think.

  7. It will flow when you get into the story. You will enjoy the experience and the time will pass very quickly.
    I have written several chapters in two different books for an author friend who asked me to be his USAF/F-4/Civil Jet authority (that's not really the right word, 'cuze I ain't no authority). It was strange to see the stuff in print, slightly edited by the author, in a real, holdable book.

    1. That must be kind of cool.

      So what are the names of those books? Might want to read those some day.

    2. The first one was "The Rapture Dialogues, Dark Dimension", the second, "The Nephilim Imperatives, Dark Sentences". Both By Terry James. They are Christian fiction.

    3. Just read a brief snippet over at Amazon. I need to check these out!

  8. Simple? Not sure about that. Easy -that I know it is not, but, you do have a Muse on your shoulder and I would certainly be in line for your first published books. Your posts/essays have been outstanding.

    The only writer I can think of that said he just sat down and started writing without gut-wrenching effort was Isaac Asimov (and Mr. Asimov was extraordinary).

    1. Easy? Nope. Simple? I hope the process is simple, not the story.

      Asimov was extraordinary, the man could write!

      And thanks for the vote of confidence Ron. I shall endeavor to do my best.

  9. Whatever you have written has always kept interested, I am anxiously awaiting your book. Now a bonus for me would be an historical novel, Your knowledge of history is spot-on!

    1. It will be an historical novel, it's all I really know!

  10. Looking forward to it. If you need an alpha reader, I'll be happy to help out.

    1. Excellent, always nice having a published author on board!

  11. Coureur de Bois.....................Le Voyaguers.................
    La Verendrye
    I am from Montana originally
    With a Side Trip to Alberta, Canada.
    The Coureur de Bois and Le Voyaguers are part of my youth
    In Quebec, they were le Habitant.....................

    1. The Montreal Canadiens are still known by many in these parts as Les Habs.

  12. Followed the link... I vaguely remember reading this back then, has a familiar feel.
    Nearly 6 years in the making, guess maybe the hardest part of a journey IS that first step. Good Luck!

  13. MartinFromGermanyMay 11, 2021 at 4:28 AM

    Please, please, pretty please ... start writing now.
    What should I do with my day unless it had a highlight coming from your pen?


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