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Don Silver and The Knight Brass 1
Act 3 of The Knights Trace in New Spain
© 2022 James LaFond
“Their reigns are gold,
their saddles plated silver…”
-First Jest, First Chant
Brawn fell asleep with the mysterious Indian woman kissing his chest.
He woke with her riding him again.
He fell asleep with her rubbing his chin, as if imagining the fresh whiskers sprouting into a flutter of beard.
He woke with her pulling him over onto her, as she wrapped him with surprisingly strong legs and opened his back scars anew with her hard little nails.
‘Is she wendigo?’ he wondered, as he passed out on top of her.
Dawn streaked the tent as she crawled away from him and then yanked him close and backed up to him, snarling like a little lynx. Booted feet sounded outside the tent and he began to pull out, and she grabbed his hip with hand and hooked her legs around his knees and snarled, “No, please, don’t stop!”
The noble voice of The Knight Brass inquired of Saddler, as the camp-ware began to ding, thump, slap and jangle, “Sergeant, where is my Brash Hellbane?”
Saddler slapped the tent with his belt, “Ye see, Good Sire, Lady Blake’s injun maid came a questing after that young fella with such feminine adore that I felt compelled to give ova the tent here fo da conjegetorial rites o’ companionship.”
She was getting to that exultant state she always seemed to seek just before demanding his release, and she moaned, to which The Knight Brass, paused, and then laughed, “Huzzah! Sergeant, have this half-scout here play a drumming tune upon Ranger Brash’s saddle, for modesty’s sake!”
Penny Breed then began to caper with his little brown hands as The Knight Brass stalked off with a jolly jangle of spurs, laughing heartily and rousing the camp to Penny’s tune, insisting that song was the cure for the hell they had in store.
“Take me, Brawn,” she hissed. “You know the way—please, don’t make me beg the more!”
Saddler then began to sing something about the time he mated with a she cougar in a high cave, and “must satisfy her heat or become meat,” and Brawn became angry at the bitch under him and seized her in his gripes. Only then did she purr like a kitten and stop her furious grind…
‘How could I pass out again?’ he mused as Saddler dragged him buck naked from the tent. As the rangers all around laughed down at him all weak and spent, he watched the pleasing form of that woman sashay between their ranks, holding her belly like smug, wiggling as she walked barefoot in the light snow, the touch of which began to rouse Brawn.
As he looked for his clothes he was soon pelted with snowballs and jeered, his pants being tossed from one man to the other as he pleaded for modesty’s sake and Saddler slapped him on the back and roared, “Told ye’all coons dis was ma boy true bred on a good ‘ore!”
Staggering to his feet naked, pelted with snow, Brawn was jeered one last time and then pelted with his own wet clothes. As the circle of bad-wishers broke up and saw to their gear, Saddler opined, “Now, if she were a real squaw, she’d be glued to you, drying them duds right. If’n she were a whore, she’d be worrying me for a shilling. Question is, wit a figure like that en a will like some uppity brat, who da hell be she?”
Brawn shrugged his shoulders and Saddler continued, “She ain’t got da utters of a bred bitch what ta milk some lady’s sprat en wouldn’t let me come to in ‘er.”
Brawn looked up at him stunned as he stood on one foot and pulled on a sock and Saddler’s eyes grew dark and then sparkled to life, “Well gut me runin’ if she ain’t got serviced fo stud—son, dat wicked breed owes me a stud fee! Da ent-ire worl be spun right-side down…”
Saddler then shoved Brawn absently over into the outer mud of the campfire as he mused, “If’n we win dis scarecrow crusade, we could ask leave down New Spain way and get a bed fo a pasture en gather pay fer bratt babes sired what ta grow inta rangers en hunt Injuns fo dem Dons...”
Brawn was dizzy, weak in the legs to a trembled foot and found himself full of shame, looking longingly at the Banner Brass, where he knew that the woman that just lassoed his once cold soul now petted it like a fostered wolf cub in her wileful lap.
The high meadows were good passage, like as if the people of Moses trekked along the roof of some imponderable world. Small herds of bison and great herds of elk grazed in the light summer snow on pastures unusually green. A moose cow and young were seen up on the green-spired mountainside—mule deer browsing all about. The herd of sheep, cattle and goats seem to have put the wild critters at ease that they were not today’s man-feed.
A full day’s ride brought them to a grand meadow so fair that the camp was like some field out of fable, strung along the broad, clear cool river.
A Council of War was held before the tent of The Knight Brass. Praying Trigger Tim had located a Spanish encampment of some forty strong, arrayed about a certain silver banner streaked in red, two meadows to the west. It was decided that the company would meet this force on the intervening meadow and there parley in hopes of allying against the wendigo-skinwalker menace.
Before the sergeants were dismissed, The Knight Brass looked at Brawn, “Ranger Brash, are you fit to fence?”
“Yes, Sire.”
"Before the men then, show your adore for war."
Leathers were donned and wasters held on guard, and thirty bruising falls or humiliating points later, Brawn was declared not to suffer from “Lady Legs.” As The Knight Brass helped him up from that last beat and leg sweep he chuckled, “I shall release the maid at moonrise, as soon as she has seen to Lady Blake.”
“Yes, Sire.”
“No thanks, Brash? My, what a woman she must be. Now go be a decent sort and bathe in the river shallows.”
‘Must they all live through me? Or perhaps, this is a plight assigned by the master of Ole Billy Ree?’
Controlling this woman was not easily done; not by hips, wrists, shoulders or hair alone. Brawn did discover why the Lord decreed that a woman’s hair must be long, so that she can be muzzled with it before the night was done.
‘Is this woman insane because she is a noble of some Spanish house—are all nobles insane?’
Her head lie on his chest and she spoke, “You think much, and almost aloud. Was it always like that, or because of the wendigo touch?”
“Always Sarge says my face has been easy to read.”
“You have not asked after me—you are not curious.”
“No, you are lovely, and soon to leave. Ole Billy Ree came to me in dream and told me that you used him to hunt me. You will kill me or leave.”
He felt her tears on his chest, then her sniffled breath.
“I’m sorry, Lady.”
“Don’t be, Brawn; I do not deserve your pity.”
He cradled her slim body, realizing that when she had been his age he was but ten.
“Take me again, Brawn—I want a daughter, not a son taken by war.”
He did as she bid, and then she held him and cried, he drifting off to dream in the deep Altar Grotto as the walls said mass and the whisper of Billy Ree gasped, “Tomorrow brings no need of wendigory.”
Acursed Nation
Don Silver and The Knight Brass 2

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