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Cavalryman
Timejacker #7
© 2023 James LaFond
OCT/21/23
Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25 – 26, 1876
Jamie woke, or came to, out of some trance, upon an exercise apparatus, parallel bars between which he was walking as a young man spoke to him kindly in German and helped him along.
‘What happened to me?’
Alaric was standing to his left with what looked like an Eastern Woodlands Indian. Jamie felt unsteady on his feet, was confused, and looked to Alaric, who explained, “Passage through the Advent Horizon, in some cases, causes a stroke. Yours might have been exasperated by the beating administered by Major Bracken.”
“Oh, lovely,” he drooled.
Jamie nodded and looked to the fellow that seemed about his age, still a fit warrior, but gray in his top knot, and nodded. The man nodded to Jamie and said, “I am Fallen Timber. I see age has gripped you cruelly. May you recover. You are the Dreamer who saw me in his mind?”
Jamie drooled and smiled, shrugging his shoulders as he dragged himself along between the bars, trying to step.
Alaric continued, “Jamie, the Little Bighorn was more of an instant disaster than historical sources led us to believe. We arrived just after noon and could do nothing but expose the airship to fire from the warriors besieging Reno’s Command. Custer and his men were gone. Do you have any ideas regarding possible alternative pickups?”
Jamie mused and his mind caught flame, burning in his brain. Drooling he mumbled, as clearly as he might, “The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers were there, though historians dispute it. Native and U.S.G. sources still disagree on the battle, with U.S.G. downplaying the Cheyenne and Crazy Horse’s leadership. Gal is favored as victor as he was not murdered by U.S.G. Indian Police like Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.”
He walked and talked, drooling less and feeling momentarily alive:
“It was Cheyenne reports that credit Crazy Horse with victory, while Army Historians favor Gal. They would not have stayed for the mutilations and I would wager that, as personal allies of Crazy Horse, that there might have been time taken to conduct a rite on one of the surrounding buttes. Also, there were whites among the Cheyenne, at least one from photographic evidence. Further, your Shawnee friend here speaks a cousin language. The Cheyenne were Algonquin, like the Shawnee, not Sioux.”
His ankle rolled under him and he but barely caught himself as the therapist said words which he did not understand and propped him above abject humiliation. “Thank you,” he drooled.
The leathery hand of the Indian whose name suddenly fled his memory touched him on his left shoulder, “Thank you, for your memory song.”
Fallen Timber was now armed like a Tomorrow Warrior, square pistol, square Machine Gun made by some tinker named Thompson, and holding twice as many bullets as a Winchester, along with his own scalping knife and tomahawk out of the sorrow-filled past. He descended on one rope, Major Bracken, fanatic tomorrow soldier, on another, with the other ropes dropped empty. Below them were seven figures, all with horses hobbled near in the grass. These men had raised an eighth man’s body on a scaffold and were standing in reverence. There was an eighth horse, a pure white pony.
One of the men wore a back swept war bonnet with flowing tails and carried a lance. He also had a Winchester slung over his shoulder by a sash. He stood off to the side with an obviously white man, who was thin and wore jeans, boots, shirt, jacket and a high, dark hat, having a pair of six guns slung from his hips.
The other five figures stood in a semi-circle under the scaffold. These men wore war bonnets of upright eagle feathers, skunk skin sashes, leggings, moccasins, breachcloats with elongated back sashes. Each had a bow and arrows in his left hand and a snake shaped rattle in their right hand, which they shook as they blew on eagle bone whistles that hung from thongs about their necks.
Fallen Timber and Major Bracken, had agreed not to drop during the ceremony. For the men below saw them there and did not seem threatened and continued their ceremony. The air boat commander had dropped to within 200 feet and stopped his noisy air pushers that sounded so much like English flies. Anchors of canvas bagged sand were dropped at four points.
The songs continued for some long moments. At last, a small dark-skinned Cheyenne, with a white cross painted on his buckskin shirt, turned to them and looked upward, extending his hands wide in a blessing.
Bracken dropped first and then Fallen Timber, who had practiced this numerous times to avoid embarrassment. Very soon, like a bird fallen from a nest, Fallen Timber was next to Bracken, who helped him unhitch from the belt harness he had worn according to his elder status.
Bracken stepped aside and made way for Fallen Timber, who made the open hand sign of peace to the warriors, and made the owl sign to the deceased warrior on the scaffold. He then walked up to the men and was astonished to note that the Lakota with the swept war bonnet had bright blue eyes and French features, obviously a trapper’s son, perhaps to a pemicen wife. [2] This man had a far away gaze and seemed insane.
The leader of the Cheyenne had manners like a stalking wolf and eyes like a panther. Fallen Timber acknowledged him as a Christian by making the sign of the French cross while looking at the white cross painted on his chest. These Cheyenne all wore black and white war paint—death and dream writ upon their face. The leader and the broadly built man next to him, both wore leggings that were fringed with human hair: black, blond, brown and red, even with some kinky black man hair woven in.
He introduced himself, “I am Fallen Timber of the Shawnee. My friend is Major Bracken of Germany. The Army has purchased loyalty from drunken chiefs and will seek the downfall and imprisonment of Sitting Bull, to be murdered, of Crazy Horse, to be murdered, of the Nez Perce, too and of the Dog Soldier Band under Dull Knife and Little Wolf.”
“What is that,” asked the man wearing the white paint cross, in English.
“That, has been explained to me as a German airship. It rescued me and my brothers from Tecumseh’s defeat 53 winters ago, last week. So, I say it is not a mere floating air boat, but Hiawatha’s white sky canoe, for it travels into and beyond the sun setting. It soon takes me, with my men, way down the River of Time to avenge ourselves on the American tomorrow, a place of untold sorrow.”
The Crazy blue-eyed man spoke in a very clean American English, “I have seen this air canoe in my visions. I am Crazy Horse and I have slain Iron Backside and am free to leave this life. There is nothing more for me. I know that my people will kill me and do not intend to resist. If there are enemies beyond sunset then there will be a better death there.”
The man in the hat, doffed it and mumbled, “Name’s Lille Bill, I’m in. Name’s mud wit Murican gubment.”
The leader declared, “I am Little Wolf. I must stay and protect Dull Knife. My Dog Soldiers may decide each.”
The broad man with the human hair fringing his leggings, spoke in Algonquin, in what sounded like Blackfeet, “Sneaking Bear would fly. May I bring a rock to drop on White Men?”
Fallen Timber turned to Major Bracken, “He wants to bring a rock, to drop on White Men.”
The Major grinned and pulled out an iron grenade, yanked out the pin, and heaved it a great distance motioning for each man to squat as he did. Crazy Horse did not Squat, and seeing this the rest straightened back up, and then the hand bomb exploded, peppering them with stone and iron, cutting the face of Crazy Horse and the shoulder of Fallen Timber. Crazy Horse laughed, and all four Dog Soldiers nodded somberly and said goodbye to Little Wolf.
“Six more,” nodded Bracken, “Thank you, and thank you, Little Wolf!”
As they roped up and were hauled aloft, the lone figure below, standing among eight hobbled ponies, beneath a scaffold burial, whistled mournfully upon his eagle bone whistle and shook his rattle with a militant joy.
‘What a war band this will be,’ mused Fallen Timber, feeling already like red water running down the bloody River of Time.
Notes
-1. In researching Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, I found a photo of Cheyenne prisoners being held in 1878, 18 months after Custer’s defeat, in the wake of the break for freedom by Dull Knife and Little Wolf, who made a similar bid for freedom as did Chief Joseph and Looking Glass at the same time. The picture included seven distinctively racial Cheyenne people and one full blooded cracker, a total “white man.” Here I have found my cavalryman. He is tellingly seated in the center, has a surly caged look in his eyes and is in close association with the one woman who might be a half breed. See photo below, a mother, sister or wife.
-2. An entire tribe of Canadian Indians near Lake Winnibego was racially half cast, formed by French bison hunters and their native wives who turned the bison meat the men hunted into pemicen, a dried mix with berries, for Hudson Bay Company trappers to eat.
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