Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chapter 26

The war against the natives began the next day, six years of bloodshed and terror. The brothers ravished the land and fought with savage strength, attacking villages, taking no captives. They used the element of surprise and vulnerability. Our thirty or so slaves from the coal mine went into battle unafraid. The phenomena of the roles being reversed, issuing trouble instead of receiving it, gave them the courage and pride of the kill. The trance-like loyalty seemed strangely connected to the mindset in the caves. Better the warrior than the slave! Ultimately, we succumbed to Heber's savagery and were as vicious as any trained warrior. Heber's depended on the thirty as his guerilla guards. As a member of this guard, I enjoyed good food and a bed on the floor inside Heber's tent. I stopped thinking of running away. I was becoming another Emus. Milesius intended to conquer all of Ireland and divide it between his three sons but Amergin died at the hand of a native. Heber led the thirty into the wood to avenge the death. If the hunted only knew the futility of his running and the vicious heart of the man Heber, perhaps he would not run so fast. But the man starved himself by hiding in trees and caves and when he was discovered was thin and emaciated. This pitiful creature was pushed, shoved and dragged by the heels through the woods back to camp. Heber uncoiled his whip and laughed. The sinister sounds in his throat caused the man's body to shake uncontrollably and he begged for mercy before the beatings began. But the snake-like coils crackled and lashed unmercifully tearing the skin off of his back. Unfortunately the man was still alive.

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