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To The Right Priors Three
Prologue to Ranger?, Being the Acts of the Knights Trace in Awes South
© 2022 James LaFond
To the Supreme Prior Gregory Athelthane, Called “Yore,” Factor to His Holiness, Archbishop of New England at King Henry’s Cathedral, at Saint Mary’s Town,
As well:
His Eminent Prior of Forsaken Name, Of the Stalwart Knights of Saint George of the Cross, at Saint George’s Cathedral upon the heathen river unnamed,
His Reverent Prior of Sweet Galilee [1], Of the Most-Sanguine Knights Sepulcher of the Cathedral of the North, at the Citadel Saint Claire,
His Prior Nore, of the Humble Knights Trace, at Whitefish Cathedral, July 11, In the Year of Our Lord 2031
May it be Known, that I, your servant, your eyes and ears upon Satan’s vast den of conspiracy, have had all of my pigeons ate. All 9 birds of my coop, have been flown with copies of this letter, only to be descended upon by an eagle out of nightmare above these refuge walls. The heathens gathered about—seeking mercy from fiends far worse than they—call this devil of the sky “thunderbird,” and it does roar rather like a lion then any screech, scree, peep or quark one would assign such a winged thing.
Thus the lateness of this message, a message sent by two riders each to the Sister Cathedral’s West, in hopes that such pigeons there might be sent to His Archbishop east afar.
Our Humble Order of Awes West numbers fewer souls than the garrisons of any of your great and hallowed cathedrals.
Continued longish and withering winter has assailed us these ten years gone. But this, and only, this winter has presented this humble factor of Christ with the below-named perils:
Most savagely, the Ree tribes have risen and have among them products of monstrous births, of matings of their maids with the giant called Sasquatch to generate a pallid thing called “wendigo” a man eater of the woods, a legend once sneered at, now proven by the grinning red-eyed head mounted upon this postern gate—thanks by to The Knight Stern in his tireless service.
Most Ominously, the said Sasquatch have returned out of legend, some seen visibly skulking at this man made thing in their midst, and more ominously, others transmuting themselves into Stonish Giants by such incantations and crude witchery as they possess. To these shambling things half of my knightly strength has been lost this summer alone—this summer of snow, that heathen Old Man Winter has suffered naught but hay to grow.
Most perplexing, the Counter Pope of Vile Montreal sends entreaties to ally against such horrors, to which I may not reply until so directed by His Reverence of The Sepulcher, who does possess authority in heretical matters of Northron New France or His Holiness at Saint Mary’s Cathedral away east.
Most troubling, a deputation of Comanche, those most savage foes of our Christian Faith, who claim to have been driven in part into Wyoming in its wintry desolation by something called a “skinwalker,” in relation to the Navaho people of New Spain being something like as a wendigo to a Ree, hath they pleaded unseemly like with My Troubled person for succor.
Most disgusting, The Knight Ware, without whom this Prior would be lost, has brought the heads of three black voodooists caught journeying into Canada on some repulsive errand, clothed as if Indians, for which they were justly slaughtered.
Most affronting, that winged thing called Thunderbird, it’s wings the span of a Sepulcher galley sail, sails about over our heads, to which our silver-voiced nuns and brazen trumpets complain...but the beastly winged thing will not be off and seems never to tire in its flight, only to retire into the blackness of night.
Most sobering, a Czarist deputation, headed by a certain grave beast of a knight, having been harrowed a year in the wilds, pleaded audience with Her Portentess Christsong. This woman—this gracile nun of near a hundred years having been here decades before my appointment—does walk like Enoch with The Lord, to wit some name her the Second Coming of Mary. She has taken no food since The Year of Our Lord, 1991, and yet lives, the very birds said to bring her sustenance in her tower upon the lake, sent by Saint Francis himself. She was once atime The Rose Lady, daughter of the Knight O’Neal, Chaste Wed to the Knight of that name of Saint George. Her song has awakened me with every dawn since the advent of my priorship 16 years gone.
Most affrighting, Her Portentess sent the Czarists to Medicine Wheel Mountain down Wyoming way to consult the Christian Skywatcher who has long been Missionary to the heathen in the cause of their conversion. Thence, from that quarter, in the dying days of June, in the Medicine Bow Range, a weird, awful light cleaved the sky like a sword, blinding our watchtower boy, turning his hair white...and akin does this wretch now babble amain of things rueful and strange.
Most saddening, from the moment that southeaster light clove the sky, our lady ceased her song, and above the lake in her tower weeps. Should our nuns lose faith, even as the heathen pleading for succor clamor at our gates, it is doubtful that the three remaining knights and their Tracebands [2] will sustain us to winter...what is a winter that follows upon a summer of snow?
Provisionally, riders have been dispatched to:
Helena Station, our most easterly post, where The Knight Right-Slain keeps watch, directed to hold to the last man.
Redlodge Station, the subpost to this Cathedral, Where Squire Cranby serves in stead of the brutal-slain Knight Crow, with orders to hold to the last man.
Cheyenne Station, where The Knight Rule keeps watch, who has been ordered with his entire force to fall back on Saint George with this message to ensure its delivery, to place his sword at that Pious Prior’s service.
Redrock Station, where The Good Knight Brass keeps watch—this station being out of command, pigeons and scouts all gone, but Brass in possession of standing orders to rally at Denver Station in the event of general peril.
Denver Station, kept by The Knights Two, has contingency orders to withdraw The Knight High at Winter Station and release by scout, The Lone Knight from his post at Hinter Station, deep in the Colorado Interior. Denver Station is vested with judgment, as to holding, advancing to assist New Spain, or falling back to sustain Awes South, being the second ranked Post of the Knights Trace.
The Lone Knight at Hinter Station is charged, in the event of general crisis—hitherto supposed to have been a Comanche war—with allying with the Dons of New Spain, and thence journeying westward to maintain His Majesty’s Furthest Possession, the Church Manor of Lower Awes West, sustained by the manorial fief of Vale Bernie, under perpetual grant of King Henry the 21st, bestowed by His Grace in the Year of Our Lord, 1913.
Such being the circumstances of Awes West, and soon to be placed entirely out of touch with our sister orders and points east, it behooves to mention a Godly boon. As the Knights Trace traditionally receive the most encourageble rouges into our service, desertions to New Spain, Czarist outposts, heathen tribes and even the Heretics of Northron New France, have long kept this order under strength. It is my pious pleasure to report that those dastard coward souls shorn of the good Christian duty to serve, who have deserted us in this dire time, have had their heads returned—less their eyes and brains—by the aforementioned winged devil bird that circles this Sacred Ground, moving The Knight Quick-Spike [most severe of his kind] to quote from Job as to he-to-remain-unnamed doing God’s very work!
-In the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior, from The Least of Thee, Prior Nore, Awes West
-1. Greatest of the Great Lakes
-2. A Traceband at full strength numbers: Knight, Squire, Factor & Page of the noble class. Lower orders are ranked: Sergeant of Rangers, Farrier Sergeant, Station Sergeant, Stone Deacon, Rangers [English, to number 10], Scouts [Breeds to number 4], Boys [English or breeds to number 6], Scullers [all sorts of bound yet untrusted rogues, not to exceed 4 in number, with the excess to be drawn and quartered if encourageble and hung if well-behaved.
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