Khakhanate Book 2: The Crow by Tom Lankenau - HTML preview

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I got the water boiling and swallowed down my aggravation at such a banal project. Once it was boiling, Theodore put in a mixture of herbs and bark (I think) and let it boil for quite a while. He then took it off the fire, covered and let it steep for a long time. While it was steeping, he told us the news. Ignace and Goa had died early in the winter. There was nothing in particular wrong with them; they just didn’t seem to want to live any longer. Sarah had died late in the winter, but Tepeyolotl was still alive. She had a growth in her abdomen that gradually wasted her. He was sure Tepeyolotl had one too and would soon die also. Their sons were with them, but their daughters were back in Chalco. I withheld my opinion of the latter. Otherwise, all were well. He was pleased to add that his daughter Sarah had delivered a son about a month ago and named him Ignace. We congratulated him on becoming a grandfather. Before we turned in, he gave Carlotta the steeped tea. She liked it and slept very well.

I awoke early the next morning with a start. I must have had an unpleasant dream since my heart was pounding. I immediately looked at Carlotta, but she was resting peacefully with a serene smile on her lips. I got up and quietly went out of the room. Cuauhtzin muttered a bit, but he wasn’t ready to get up yet. I went outside and got the sweat lodge ready. It was still dark, but I really needed a good sweat bath. While the stones were heating up, I went into the woods and gathered some pine boughs. When all was ready, I went into the lodge. I was only there a few minutes when Theodore entered carrying some cedar boughs.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked.
“Not at all. Why cedar?”
“My spirit guide recommends it.”
“Mine has been elusive lately.”
“There are times when there is nothing they can say.”
“Why?”

“Sometimes events are out of our hands and there is nothing we can do to avoid or even mitigate consequences.”

 

“Even so, some advice would seem appropriate.”

“Indeed. Perhaps your problem is that you cannot open up your thoughts sufficiently to contact your guide. When the mind is full and the thoughts are racing, there is no possibility of hearing the gentle voice of our guides.”

“Perhaps you could stand in for my guide?”

 

“I would not presume to do so. If you want my advice about something, I will happily give it, but it is not as valid as that of your guide.”

“Well, until I can break through to my guide, I would appreciate it.”
“What is the problem?”
“Is it normal for pregnant women to be so tired?”
“It is not unusual in the latter stages.”

“Is there any particular reason why a Pansfalaya yam keeper would be overly solicitous about Carlotta and me and keep looking at us with what could only be described as condolence?”

“The Pansfalaya are a very kind and thoughtful people, on the whole. They have always been very generous to me. Perhaps the keeper was an older man and was looking at you wistfully, remembering when he was young and having his first child.”

“Why do I think you and Ghigooie are keeping something from me about Carlotta?”

 

“When you are on campaign and you think the enemy may be ahead in force, do you sit down your men and tell them all about it?”

 

“No, you send out scouts to reconnoiter.”

 

“And if they find nothing, but you still think they may be out there, do you then alarm your men?” “No, you might tell them to keep alert, but you continue to send out scouts until your feeling is either confirmed or proved wrong.”

 

“Precisely.”

“Now that we’ve got the tactical lesson out of the way, why don’t you just spell out what your fears are and stop protecting me? I prefer to understand what the problem is and what the potential dangers are so I can prepare for them adequately.”

“You are probably right. But understand that we love you and do not want to unnecessarily upset you.” “Anything is better than this uncertainty.”
“All I can do is limit your uncertainty.”
“That will do.”

“As to Ghigooie and your Pansfalaya friend, when one sees into the future, one is simply seeing one of many possible paths that life may take. It may be at any one moment that it is the most likely, but events can change the paths at any time. Therefore, do not worry about that. For my part, I am concerned about Carlotta. As you may remember the Mexica consider pregnancy to be the equivalent of battle, and they have a point. A woman is always in some danger with it. Some, of course, seem to thrive on it. Some are too young and gravely threatened by it. In Carlotta’s case, sometimes nature prevents a woman from having a child for a good reason and it is risky to thwart that prevention. I’m sure our father explained the risks to her, but having a child is almost a necessity for many women, worth any risk. I suppose she minimized the risks to you?”

“She didn’t mention any risks to me. Neither did our father.”

“He probably assumed she would explain everything to you.Anyway, it usually is not a great risk. My own practice is not to interfere with nature. That’s why I did not say anything to you when you were in the North Country. Father, however, was always bolder than I and felt it was his duty to do all he could to make his patients’ lives full.”

“I had misgivings from the start. But now that the misgivings have proven prescient, exactly what is the risk to Carlotta and how can it be minimized?”

 

“The risk is total. She could easily not survive delivering the child. I will do all I can to minimize it. There is really nothing you could do for her except perhaps pray.”

 

“I will do so.”

We left the sweat lodge in silence and plunged into the freezing river. Although it was spring, it took quite a while for the river to warm up, and of course, it was never warm at this early hour of the day. As we dried off, the sky lightened in the east and activity slowly began in the town. I looked around the familiar sights and felt empty. A deep pall had descended over me and I found it hard to breathe. Then I looked to the door of the house and there was Carlotta smiling and waving her greeting. I realized that I had her now and needed to savor every moment we had whether she survived this child or not. I ran to her and embraced her as if she had just returned from a long trip. From that moment on, I was never away from her, not even to hunt. Unlike many women might have been, she was delighted to have me hovering about her all the time. We discussed the education of the child. I must teach him to read, and when he was old enough, I must send him to stay with the Ani’ Yun’wiya and not her people. Still, he should learn about her people and perhaps her grandfathers’ people across the sea. We speculated about them and blathered endlessly about all sorts of things. When we weren’t talking, I would pray to Deus to spare her. I made no promises or threats, I just humbly asked him to help her. Were it not for the sense of urgency, it would have been one of the happiest times of my life.

33
Carlotta and John, 106 K
(Itsati, E. TN, 1474)

It has been seventeen years since the events of this chapter occurred. Yet they are burned indelibly into my memory. The emotions I felt at that time are as fresh as if they happened yesterday. This will be the most difficult part of my life I will ever write about. It will probably take me a while to write it. Even now, before I start, I feel a lump in my throat and tears are rolling down my cheeks. I will have to try again later.

I just walked around the island a few times. The wind was blowing steadily out of the south. I imagined it blowing away my pain enough for me to write about it, but I don’t think it worked. Still, it is best to get this over with. It was a pivotal event in my life and quite obviously in that of my son.

The time drew near for the birth of my son. Carlotta became ever more serene. The glow I had always seen around her seemed even brighter, to the point that she seemed to light up a dark room. One day we came upon Ghigooie sobbing in the woods a little behind the house. She insisted she was just being a foolish old woman, but the sobs shook her whole body, and she clung to us both for comfort. She finally regained control after Carlotta whispered something in her ear. We continued our walk and came upon one of the large owls sitting on a branch of a tree looking right at us. It was most unusual seeing one of them in broad daylight or even the dappled light of the woods. Of course, the owl is, for the Ani’ Yun’-wiya, the messenger of death. I wondered at the time, if Ghigooie had seen the bird. Cuauhtzin shrieked in alarm at the raptor, but it ignored him and just seemed to stare at Carlotta. She just smiled at him and we walked on. Even though I had never really accepted the Ani’ Yun’-wiya superstitions, an icy fear began to grip my heart.

That evening after we retired for the night, we could hear the owl calling in the night. I must have shuddered perceptively because Carlotta hugged me as if to comfort me. I forced all my fears from my mind with an act of will and concentrated on anticipating any need she might have. After all, it was I who should be strong for her at this time.

The next morning, I awakened early and stole out of the room without disturbing her. I stepped outside and walked down to the river. I sat quietly on the bank looking into the inky blackness only slightly distinguishable in the predawn darkness. Suddenly, I saw a face appear in the water. It looked like my spirit guide. The eyes burned brightly and a voice rang out inside my head.

“Be strong. I am with you always.”

As the apparition vanished, I remember thinking churlishly that I wished he had been with me when I tried to contact him. But once that unworthy thought was complete, I did feel a little better. I got up and walked back to the house. In the doorway I came upon Theodore. He looked at me with the most galling sympathetic look. I wanted to be angry with him, but I quickly realized that would be unfair. Instead I stopped.

“Do you know anything I don’t?”
“It doesn’t look good, Karl.”
“Can you make sure she feels no pain?”
“Yes, I can do that.”
“How long do we have?”
“Another day, perhaps. Perhaps not even that. Stay with her. It means a lot to her.”
“I will.”

I went back to our room and rejoined Carlotta in the bed. She sighed and muttered something in what was likely Wampanoag, the only language she knew that I didn’t. I watched her sleep as dawn slowly lit the room and supplanted her glow. I began to think back on our life together from the first time I saw her until that moment. My heart nearly burst with love for this wonderful person who so filled my existence. It seemed like the times of my life without her were passed in a trance as though I was only partly alive. And now with her I really lived. How could I survive if anything happened to her? I could not imagine life without her. She awakened and dreamily looked up at me and smiled.

“I love opening my eyes and having your sweet face be the first thing I see.”
“I love every moment I have spent with you. And deeply regret every moment we have been apart.”

“Oh the time we were apart while you went north by yourself was so hard to bear. But how wonderful our time together there turned out to be. All alone, just the two of us. I often think of that time.”

 

“I do, too. I regretted having to leave there. I wonder if the Khakhan ever realized what a favor he did for me by exiling me.”

“And for me as well!”
“How are you this morning?”
“Wonderful. I keep having the most pleasant dreams every night. I feel as though I am being bathed in love.” “Every one here loves you, but not as much as I do.”
“There is a sadness in you, Karl. Are you worried about something?”
“I am a little worried about you. Giving birth is a dangerous thing.”
“I suppose so, but it is so exciting! I can’t wait to present you with your healthy son.”
“I am more concerned about you remaining healthy.”

“Oh Karl, don’t concern yourself with me. I am quite strong you know and have really not been uncomfortable at all.”

We got up and went out with the others to greet the sun in the Ani’ Yun’-wiya custom. It was still cool in the morning and Carlotta shivered a little. I quickly put an arm around her and went back into the house with her. As we all ate breakfast together, I reluctantly moved my eyes from her serene face to the others. Ghigooie looked ashen, Iskagua looked devastated, and Theodore looked ill. I can’t say that I took any comfort from them. Only Carlotta had a good appetite that morning.

By midday Carlotta began to have her first birthing pain. She looked up after it passed in sheer joy and excitement. Theodore jumped to fix another concoction for her so she would feel no pain. Ghigooie led her into the birthing hut and bid me to follow. That rather surprised me since the custom called for her to be alone for this event. The hut was small, but held a sleeping palette, a chair, and had a fresh blanket on the floor in front of the chair. Carlotta sat down on the chair and I knelt down beside her and held her hand. Ghigooie whispered something to her and she nodded. Then Ghigooie left to get some things ready.

“Karl, whatever happens today you must promise to love our son as much as you love me.” “I couldn’t love anyone as much as I love you.”

“Well then, love him almost as much as you love me. Remember he is a part of both of us. He is a physical manifestation of our love.”

 

“He is an independent being who will likely not be much like either of us. But how could I help but love anything that has been a part of you for so long?”

 

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the dangers of this pregnancy your father warned me about. I just so much wanted to have your child, that I didn’t think much about his warnings. Still, I should have told you.”

“Yes, you should have.”
“Would you have forbidden it?”
“I could never tell you what to do. I would have advised against it, however.”

“I know, you could not bear to have me in any danger. The risk seemed slight to me and the likelihood of the medicine being successful seemed so remote that I jumped at the chance of having our baby. I hope you can understand that.”

“I understand.”
“Please don’t blame the baby or your father if anything happens to me. Promise me you won’t.” “I promise. Just remember how much I love you and don’t be in any hurry to join our departed relatives.”

“Don’t worry. I want to be here for you and the baby. You both need me. But if anything does happen, I’ll be with you somehow anyway.”

 

“I know you will.”

Theodore came in with his medicine and Carlotta took it and drank it. He then moved to one side. Ghigooie returned with various things and took her place at Carlotta’s other side. Her next wave of birthing pain was painless and she looked up in surprise. Theodore explained that it was something he had picked up in his travels and it in no way affected the baby. She smiled and thanked him. Theodore felt for the baby in her abdomen and announced that it was situated properly for normal birth. The waves continued at varying intervals well into the night. As soon as Theodore detected Carlotta was in any pain he quickly gave her more of his medicine.

It must have been almost dawn when the waves became more insistent. Carlotta looked exhausted, so did Ghigooie and Theodore. I imagine I did also. Suddenly, Carlotta cried out and a watery fluid gushed out from her. She knelt down on the rug and with encouragement from all of us she pushed the baby slowly out into Theodore’s waiting hands. This was also contrary to Ani’ Yun’-wiya custom. The baby was supposed to drop directly onto the blanket and if he landed on his back all was well, if on his chest he had to be wrapped in a cloth and dipped into the river until the cloth floated freely; then the bad omen was removed. In this case with Theodore guiding him he sort of landed on his back. I remember seeing the tiny head, bald as an old man’s, slowly emerging followed by the rest of the tiny body, then the afterbirth, then the blood. Theodore tied off the tube to the afterbirth and cut it, then handed the baby to Ghigooie who handed it to Carlotta.

The exhausted look on her face was replaced with a look of such joy it was like a veil was lifted off of her. She tore herself away from the child to look expectantly at me. I smiled and nodded and she turned back to the baby and gently pressed him to her heart. The baby snuggled peacefully. Theodore had disappeared but soon returned with another concoction for Carlotta. He looked more alarmed than merely concerned. She drained the drink and we helped her to the palette. She stretched out and kept the baby on her heart. I couldn’t help but notice the trail of blood on the floor and shot a look at Theodore. He kept wiping away the blood and exchanged looks with Ghigooie. Tears were streaming down Ghigooie’s cheeks. I looked back at Carlotta. She began to shiver. I quickly threw a blanket over her. She opened her eyes and looked above.

“Oh Karl! Do you see them? They’re all here. Could you hold up the baby for their blessing? My arms are so tired.”

 

“Of course.” I held the child up.

 

“Isn’t he beautiful, Hiacoomes? Mother is that you? Father? Oh must I come now? They need me. Ohhh it is so beautiful here…”

It was so sudden I must have stood there holding up the baby and staring at her in shock for a long time. I remember she had a hauntingly serene smile on her face and her lifeless eyes continued to shine. I vaguely heard Ghigooie sobbing. Theodore must have taken the child from me because I was dimly aware of someone doing so. Still, I continued to stand over her with my empty arms outstretched over her. I think Iskagua put his hands on my shoulders then. I lowered my arms and knelt down by Carlotta’s side. I was too shocked to do anything but hold her hand and look into her face. Someone finally closed her eyes. Someone finally pulled me away from her and tried to hold on to me. I pushed him away and bolted from the room. I went outside and looked around without seeing anything. I stumbled and lurched toward the river and fell in. Someone pulled me out and carried me back to the house.

I can’t say that I remember much about the next several days. I have never asked about them and no one has ever volunteered anything. I do remember waking up one morning and instinctively looking over to see Carlotta. When it sunk in that she was not there and never would be again I began to sob bitterly. A strange sound broke into my awareness and instead of dismissing it unidentified, I got control of myself and turned to the sound. It was Cuauhtzin. He was sobbing piteously. I went over to comfort him and he leaned his head against my chest and whimpered. I held him for a long time. Then I carried him out of the house and sat him on the sweat lodge. I heated up the stones and went into the woods for some fresh pine boughs. I stayed in the sweat lodge longer than usual, but finally emerged and plunged into the river. I climbed out, dried myself, and got dressed. I looked around and noticed that it was late in the morning. I went back into the house with Cuauhtzin.

The others were all there when I returned and looked at me with obvious concern. I calmly asked if the necessary had been attended to while I was “gone.” Theodore told me that he had taken the afterbirth and buried it on the far side of the mountains as was customary. He had also taken care of Carlotta’s body as she had asked him. Apparently she had told him she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes thrown into a river that fed into the Eastern Sea. He had cremated her, but still had the ashes since all the rivers around Itsati flow into the Southern Sea. The baby was with a wet nurse (Gatagewi’s wife, Suyeta) and had been officially named John in the naming ceremony two days after his birth. I asked how long I had been “gone.” They told me it was about a week. I apologized for failing to fulfill my parental duties and asked to see the baby and Carlotta’s ashes. Ghigooie went to get the baby and Theodore went to get the ashes.

I followed them outside and stared blankly toward the river until Ghigooie and Suyeta came up with the baby. I took the child and looked into his peacefully sleeping face. He still had no hair on his head and I can’t say that I saw any resemblance to either of us, but then it is hard to see any resemblances in babies. He was as fair skinned as me and his eyes were blue when they finally opened and looked at me. He seemed to stare at me, but I suppose that was just my imagination. Theodore came up with Carlotta’s ashes. They were in a finely woven basket with a lid. I held the baby in one arm and took the basket in the other. I whispered to him that I placed him in her protection and urged him never to forget her. I then handed him back to Suyeta. I thanked her for taking care of him and asked her to look after him for me until I returned next spring. We returned to the house and I made ready my horse. When I was ready, they each gave me a big hug, and I thanked them again for all their help. I then mounted up, secured the basket with Carlotta’s ashes in front of me, and with Cuauhtzin on my shoulder, I rode up the valley toward the east.

I have just walked around the island yet again to clear my thoughts and found myself thinking of many things instead. I have heard that people who lose arms and legs continue to feel the missing limbs long after they are gone. I have been told that time lessens sorrow and eventually one gets over even the worst tragedy. In my case, time has healed nothing, and I still feel the missing half of my being. But I also feel that she is still with me, and sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I almost feel her by my side and could swear I smell her special scent.

34
To the Eastern Sea, 106 K
(E. TN to E GA, 1474)

When I left Itsati it was already near midday, but I traveled on until dusk. I turned south along a small stream that flowed into the river late in the day and was still on its west bank at dusk. I fished in the stream and soon landed a small fish, which I roasted and shared with Cuauhtzin. I still felt rather numb like I was going through the motions and did not have much of an appetite. I slept with my head against the basket with Carlotta’s ashes. I slept quite well that night and could not remember any dreams the next morning. I did feel Carlotta by my side when I awakened and had to adjust to the shock anew when I realized it was only the basket. Still, I smelled her scent for the first time that morning.

On a whim I turned a little west and looked for the mountain of my spirit quest. It took a little while to find it since I had never approached it from this direction. It was late on the following day when I found it. I hid my horse in a thicket, took a little water, and climbed the mountain. When I reached the top, I fed Cuauhtzin a little centli and urged him to be quiet while I tried to reach my spirit guide. I lit a small fire and burned some nawak’osis in it. I closed my eyes and found myself in a field full of flowers. I remember wishing that Carlotta could see it when suddenly she was there smiling at me. Next to her was my spirit guide.

“Carlotta!”
“So this is your guide, Karl,” she said. “He is a fine one.”
“I can’t tell you how much I miss you,” I said to her.
“And I miss you. But I am still with you, don’t you feel me?”
“Yes, I do. But not enough.”

“It was so hard to leave you and little John, but I had no choice. Still, I can watch over you both even though you are apart.”

“Is the child well?”
“Yes. Do you blame him for what happened to me?”
“I’m trying not to do so.”
“He does need a wet nurse now, but don’t forget about him. He will need you when he’s older.” “I won’t forget him. I plan to return in the spring. Should I have taken him to Mathilde?”

“No. She had her hands full with my namesake. Suyeta is a wonderful mother and loves him already like he was her own. I’m sorry about the ashes. It was silly to have you take them all the way to a river that flows into the eastern sea.”

“I don’t mind at all. I wish you had told me, though.”

 

“I could never think of death around you and I had forgotten all about that request. Theodore and I must have had some morbid conversations. You can pour them into the Itsati if you wish.”

 

“No, it means a lot to me that I can do this for you. When he’s old enough I want to bring John to the spot, so he can feel some connection to you.”

“He’ll always be connected to me. Just as you are.”
“Thank you for coming with my guide.”
“Just try to keep me away.”
“Don’t ever go away.”
“I won’t.”

I must have fallen asleep at that point, since I don’t remember anything else. But the next morning, I awakened feeling a little less numb. I went back down the mountain and found a stream in which to fish. Before long I was roasting a fair-sized fish, and Cuauhtzin and I had a good meal. Afterward I set off toward the northeast and by nightfall the next day was back at the Itsati River a little upstream from where I had left it. The next morning, I continued up the river. It was a gradual climb and the river valley narrowed considerably for the first few days. Then the river turned southeast and the valley opened up a bit. Here were some Ani’ Yun’-wiya towns. As usual I came upon the fields first; then the town spread out on one or the other side of the river. One of the towns was Nikwasi, the principle town of the so-called Kituhwa Ani’ Yun’-wiya. They were actually considered to be just like us, Ottare or “mountain” Ani’ Yun’-wiya, although there were some oddities creeping into their language. It was a large town and had a very large council house. I didn’t meet anyone I knew as I rode through it or any of the other towns and was glad I didn’t since I really didn’t feel like visiting at the time. Eventually the river turned more south and finally narrowed to a stream. I stayed with it until it turned sharply west; then I continued south over what could almost be a pass and came upon a stream flowing south just at dusk.

I followed the new stream the next day. It turned sharply eastward and eventually joined a larger river. Looking at my map, I was fairly sure this larger river was the Cusabo River. I soon came upon another Ani’ Yun’-wiya town. I hadn’t realized that the Ayrate or low country Ani’ Yun’-wiya had expanded this far south. I spoke to a man who stopped to greet me. Of course, he spoke a dialect a little different from the one I was used to speaking. It was the one called Elate. Grandfather had mentioned the various dialects in his book, but I had only rarely encountered them before. With some effort I could understand it and make myself understood. The man confirmed that the river was the Cusabo and mentioned that there was a beautiful waterfall a little downriver and up a smaller river coming in from the west. He told me that the Ayrate had expanded far eastward and southward in the wake of the imploding populations of the Iyehyeh and Southeastern Cities many years ago. Back when Grandfather was exploring this area the Kofitachiki had claimed it. They were still thought to exist, but after the plagues and subsequent difficulties, any survivors must be way downstream and confined to only a few towns although the man did not know of any. Similarly, the Iyehyeh, after Grandfather had defeated them and the plagues had ravished them, had coalesced to a small area along the middle Sewee River. Their towns were growing again and they seemed to have recovered. Much of the western part of their former territory was now occupied by the Ani’ Yun’-wiya and the Cheroenhaka. The former in the southern part, the latter in the northern part. I asked if there were any problems between them, but he had never heard of any. After all, he added, they were relatives. I remembered meeting some of them on my way to the Snake Ordu when I was a boy and they were always very gracious to me and my Ani’ Yun’-wiya companions, treating us like relatives.

I thanked the man for his information and decided to have a look at the waterfall. There was a small Ayrate village at the juncture of the rivers and a man there confirmed that the roar I could hear was the waterfall up that river. He mentioned that the river and the falls were named Tallulah. I turned upriver toward the falls. I soon found myself in a deep gorge. Granite cliffs loomed at least five hundred feet above me. The river gradually narrowed and I secured the horses at the base of a rather uncertain trail. When I finally got to the top of the trail, I walked along the northern lip of the gorge, continuing upstream. There proved to be at least five waterfalls of varying heights covering that drop in altitude. I worked my way to the one farthest upstream. It was almost dark when I reached it so I camped for the night. As usual I fell asleep with my head against the basket.

That night I dreamt that Carlotta again came with my spirit guide and both approved this as the perfect site to pour her ashes. When I awakened I built a cairn a little bit away from the edge, and another smaller one right on the edge of the cliff. I carefully picked my way down to the edge of the water and waited until there was no wind. Then I slowly poured the ashes into the rushing river. I regained the cliff and threw the basket into the river also. I spent the rest of the day sitting next to the cairn fasting and meditating. Cuauhtzin remained quietly on my shoulder. At some point I found myself again in the flowered field. I turned around and there was Carlotta smiling at me. I clung to her and seemed to meld into her as if we had become one. We did not speak, but we didn’t have to. I don’t know how long the vision lasted, but the next time I was aware, it was dark and Carlotta’s scent was heavy in the air.

The next morning I began the descent of the river. I slipped a few times, but came to no harm. I seemed to be very light for some reason. I finally regained the horses and rode back down to the small village. I found someone to row me across the Tallulah River to the south bank. Cuauhtzin was himself again and lectured the poor man quite rudely. I decided to follow Carlotta’s ashes to the sea, so I continued along the southwest bank of the Cusabo River.

I kept running into small Ayrate villages along the river and could even see some on the other side of the river. They had really taken over this area. The largest town I came upon was called Estatoe. It wasn’t very old but had expanded quite a bit and was rather spread out along the south side of the river. Again I was greeted politely, but encountered no one I knew. I could see quite a few scarred veterans in the town, but I suspect they had all served in the Green Mist and were strangers to me. Once out of the town, I looked for a place to camp since it was getting dark.

The following morning I fished for breakfast and soon had a nice-sized fish roasting. After eating, I continued to ride along the riverbank. Near midday I came upon a small village that was just being built. They invited me to stay a few days and help. I decided I probably should, so I pitched in while Cuauhtzin supervised with his usual rudeness. Everyone enjoyed his antics, especially the children. He also seemed to be very much enjoying all the attention. I was just glad no one understood Otomi. Indeed they all thought he was speaking his own language. I did not disabuse them of that idea. They told me they were from Keowee, the principle town of the Ayrate. It was up a river that joined the Cusabo a little downstream. The river had been renamed the Keowee after the town. I don’t remember the original name for it, but I think it would have been an Iyehyeh name. Although in Grandfather’s time that river would have been near their western frontier. They were calling their new village Tugaloo.

After a few days, the houses were all up and the council house was completed except for the roof. I decided I could now move on. They thanked me for my help and asked me to stop by again should I find myself in the area. I promised I would and continued on my way southeast with the Cusabo. They had insisted on giving me some dried fish and venison for my trouble, so I didn’t have to stop to fish for a few days.

About four days later, I had stopped for the evening, caught a fish and was roasting it, when an old man stumbled into my camp. He was quite unkempt and tattered. His white hair was long and matted as was his beard. His face was a mass of wrinkles and from his sunken cheeks he appeared to have no teeth. He peered at me through rheumy eyes as if he was trying to see me but couldn’t. He didn’t appear to have any weapons, but began fidgeting with his hands and making sucking noises with his mouth. Cuauhtzin could stand this no more and let out a shriek. The old man fell to the ground groveling in fear. I set Cuauhtzin on one of the horses and went over to help the old man up.

“Don’t be concerned about the noise. It was only a bird,” I told him.

 

“A Mongol is traveling alone here?” He looked up at me again searchingly. “I thought it was a Tsalagi come to kill me.”

 

“Why would the Ani’ Yun’-wiya want to kill you?”

 

“Have you not seen them? They are spreading down the river like a flood. They will not leave us even a remnant of our land.”

“Nonsense, they are only taking over abandoned land. What tribe are you?”
“I am Kofitachiki.”
“Don’t your people believe in bathing?”
“You shame me. I have been fasting while looking for a sign.”
“I have often fasted as well, but I didn’t stop bathing.”
“It is our way.” He drew himself up with an attempt at dignity.

“Well, if you have finished your fast, you are welcome to share my fish. It is easily large enough for two. I will have to ask you to bathe first, however.”

 

“My fasting is at an end. I will bathe as you request, but it may take me a while, I feel quite weak and rather light-headed.”

“Very well, you can eat first, just stay upwind of me, or I will be the one fasting.”
“You are a most impolite host, sir. If I were not lost, I would decline your hospitality and continue on my way.” “You are right, I am being rather rude. I apologize. Here, have some fish.”

I gave him most of the fish, which he consumed, with some difficulty, since he indeed had no teeth. When he had finished, I gave him some berries I had picked nearby and he heartily consumed them also. Then he rose, and bowing to me, he took himself to the river and cleaned himself as best he could. I found some extra clothes I had and gave them to him since his were disintegrating in the water. My clothes were too big for him, of course, but he was still much more presentable when he returned.

“I sincerely hope I no longer offend you,” he said, bowing low again.
“A vast improvement. Tell me, is your vision poor?”
“Yes, very much so. That is why I have lost my way. Is this river the Cusabo?”
“Yes it is. Where is your village?”
“It is on the south side of the Cusabo. It that where we are?”

“Yes. At it must be downriver from here because I haven’t passed any Kofitachiki town, only Ani’ Yun’-wiya towns.”

“Are we near the sea?”
“By my calculation, it is about five days ride from here.”
“Ride? You have horses, I thought I smelled them.”
“Of course, I have horses. All Mongols have horses.”
“Very few of my people do.”
“Why?”
“We don’t travel far anymore. We have no need of them.”
“Don’t your young men go on campaign?”
“Yes, sometimes, but those that do never come back.”
“They all die on campaign?”
“I don’t know, but we never see them again.”
“That’s rather odd. Is your village that mean?”
“It is small and poor.”

“It is shameful that none of your young men return. I can assure you they don’t all die on campaign. At worst only about a quarter of the men die on campaign and that is mostly from disease. Many men wander about a bit after returning, but all usually go home eventually. I did.”

“Where is your home, young sir?”
“Cuauhnahuac.”
“I never heard of it. Is it far to the west?”
“It is far to the southwest, in Anahuac. About a day’s ride south of Tlatelolco, the capital.” “I never heard of those places. They must be far away.”
“Yes, they are. Is your village right on the river or inland?”
“Inland, of course. The banks always flood in the spring.”
“Is it visible from the riverbank?”
“Yes, just barely.”
“Well it must be east of here. The last Ani’ Yun’-wiya village I passed was about two days’ ride west.” “It is closer than I thought. I should be able to reach there tomorrow if I keep the river on my left.” “Why don’t you ride with me? With your eyesight you won’t see it.”

“I don’t have to see it, I can feel it when I get near. You are kind to offer me a ride, but I have never been on a horse and am too old to start now.”

“As you wish, but spend the night here and I’ll fish again in the morning so you can have breakfast.” “You are most kind.”

The next morning I rose early and set to catching breakfast. It didn’t take long, and while it was roasting I heated some centli meal and water to make a gruel for the old man. I didn’t think he’d want the chili I would normally add to the dish. He finally awakened and went down to the river to wash, then followed his nose to breakfast. He ate heartily, if slowly, and greatly relished the gruel. Cuauhtzin liked it also, but preferred the fish. When he had finished, he thanked me profusely and asked me if I would walk with him for a while. I agreed and we walked down the river leading the horses.

“You were right to reproach our young men for not returning. Our village is dying, as are our people. Soon the Kofitachiki will be only a memory.”

“There is more than one Kofitachiki village?”
“Yes, there are a few others. But I would guess, no more than fifty families.”

“In my grandfather’s time they were a great nation controlling most of this river valley and much of the land to the north.”

“Your grandfather must have been a very old man.”
“He was ninety years old when I was born.”
“Ah, well then, yes, in his day we were a great nation.”

“What happened to you? I know you refused to join the Khanate, and then you refused the treatment for the plagues, which must have cost you a lot of people, but then what happened to you. I can’t remember what my grandfather wrote.”

“Wrote? I don’t know that word.”
“It is a means of communication. Words are marked on paper or wood or skins.”
“Words are marked? How?”
“We have symbols that stand for sounds so that looking at the symbols we can repeat the sounds.” “What a wonder. You have always done this?”
“Yes. As far as I know it has been done for centuries.”
“Amazing. And you didn’t teach this to anyone else?”
“We have taught it to all who are willing to learn. It is no secret.”
“We never learned it. What fools we have been.”
“You learned Mongol, but not writing? Who taught you?”
“Long ago an Iyehyeh came to us and taught us the language. He never mentioned writing.”

“I can’t imagine how you have remained so isolated. But to get back to the subject, what happened to you after the plagues?”

“The plagues destroyed us. The first took over half of our people. The second took over half again. The entire ruling class succumbed. We were afraid of our enemies so we kept concentrating the survivors and each new outbreak kept wiping us out. Finally we scattered into small groups but kept in contact and got together for special festivals or to defend ourselves. Then your army moved in and conquered the area. Our army tried to resist them but was swept away. Those who survived again fled into the swamps and scattered. When we thought it was safe, we came up the river far enough away from the Cusabo not to be noticed, then scattered into the forests. Now our young men leave and do not return. Our young women must either marry into another tribe or die childless. We are doomed.”

“Why don’t you just integrate yourselves into the Khanate. You could begin trading again and flourish. There is no need for you to disappear into the forests.”

“We would rather die out than be absorbed into another tribe.”
“No tribe really dies out, it is always absorbed into another tribe.”
“What do you think we should do?”

“Gather yourselves together into a single village somewhere along this river. Trade with the coastal and upriver tribes. Accept the treatments to deal with the plagues; learn all you can from the Mongols. In time you will return to your old greatness. You need not fear any of your neighbors in the Khanate. There is peace among the tribes. It was what the remnant of the Iyehyeh have done and they are flourishing and expanding.”

“Perhaps as a Mongol you see the Khanate in too positive a light.”

 

“No, I don’t. I do not approve of every aspect of the Khanate. But it is better than the chaos that existed here before we came. It took a while, but I have come to accept that.”

“Would you consider talking to my people?”
“If you think it would help.” I felt I had to offer, but it was the last thing I wanted to do.

We walked quietly for a while; then he stopped suddenly and turned and pointed at a low bluff just to our right. I looked at it and finally saw a few wisps of smoke rising from it. He confirmed that this was his village and we climbed up the bluff along an almost-hidden trail. The village was indeed very small and very poor. The houses were made of bundled grass with thatch roofs. If it were not so damp in this area, they would have to be very careful of fire. As it was, there were no fires inside the houses; everyone had a hearth in front. The people were dressed in tattered skins, but otherwise were clean and stood their ground at my approach. The Mico was brought out to greet me. He was rather short and thin (as were they all). He was a little older than me, perhaps in his forties, and had the wary look of a man who had been put upon too often. His only distinguishing vesture was a headdress rather reminiscent of those worn by the Tsoyaha, like a thin piece of cloth wound all around the head. It looked to me like all resemblance to their original tribe had already been lost.

“You are a strange-looking one. Are you a Mongol?” he asked, eyeing me suspiciously.
“Yes, I am. Your sage seemed to feel I should speak to you.”

At this point the old man broke into their language and he and the Mico had a long exchange between them. It did not appear to be heated or deferential on either side, leaving me no idea what the old man’s position in the tribe might be. I could not make out a word of their language, although at times I thought it slightly similar to Pansfalaya with which I was a little familiar. Eventually Cuauhtzin could take no more of being ignored and broke into their conversation with a very long string of Otomi curses. I struggled mightily, but eventually I had to laugh. The Mico and the old man and the few others who had gathered at first stared at him in alarm and then joined in my laughter. That broke the ice and I was welcomed to village and invited to stay with the Mico.

He explained that the old man was his father, the former Mico. He had retired when his vision began to fail and had left the village about a moon ago to fast and commune with Esaugetu Emissee (their name for God) and receive guidance about their future. Here the old man broke in and explained that he had received such guidance. He had been instructed to go in a certain direction and that the first man he met would tell him what to do. He had done so and came upon me. At first he was very confused since he thought I was a Tsalagi who meant to kill him. When I turned out to be a Mongol, but a very rude one. He was again confused. Finally after talking to me he realized the message was true; I was the one sent by Esaugetu Emissee.

I suggested that perhaps his Esaugetu Emissee was making use of me, but I was hardly his messenger. Still if I could help their people, I would be happy to do so. I then repeated to the Mico my advice to his father. He listened intently and then sat silently a while thinking it over. He asked if I would speak to the Micos of the other villages if he could gather them together. I readily agreed and he said it would take several days to bring them all together. I agreed to wait and went down to the river to fish so I wouldn’t be a burden to the village. Several of the children followed me everywhere, mostly out of curiosity about Cuauhtzin. He would sit quietly on my shoulder for a while eyeing them; then he would burst into a stream of curses bringing on gales of laughter from the children. The old man joined me on the riverbank and chatted about fishing and other things.

I had no trouble in providing most of the village with fish over the next several days while Cuauhtzin provided the entertainment. The old man and I discussed a lot of things. I told him about my recent loss and he was very sympathetic. He had also been married to a woman he had loved very much. She had died from some illness many years ago when his son was still a boy. His son, too, had missed her greatly and their shared loss helped them get through it. He regretted that my son would never even know his mother. I told him I would make sure he would. He asked about the rest of my family and I asked about his. He and his son were all that remained of his family. His son’s wife had also died, but without issue. His son had toyed with the idea of remarrying, but had decided not to do so. He hoped that if I could give them some reason to hope, his son would again consider remarriage.

I really couldn’t imagine them pinning all these hopes on a few words of common sense from me. However, sometimes an outside perspective can bring things into better focus for a very inward-looking people. From what he told me, they had been extremely inward looking. They always kept watch on the river and the trails, and whenever anyone was seen approaching, they would put out their fires and dissolve into the woods until the strangers had passed. They had lived this way for at least fifty years. As I suspected, all of the things that had marked their culture had been lost over the years, and they had regressed into a ragtag group of fugitives afraid to let themselves be seen. I hoped I could help them, but I was not too hopeful. Fearful people tend to stay that way.

About eight days after my arrival, all the Micos had been gathered to listen to me. They sat in a circle around me and many others sat behind them. I first made sure they all understood Mongol. They did, although some of their pronunciation was interesting. I then told them what I had told the old man the week before. I added that from the look of them (there were about a dozen of them) they should be able to form a good-sized town if they got together. I suggested that the Micos form a council and elect one of their number to be the Mico of the new town. They should find a site on the river where they could expand easily and have plenty of room for fields. They should also consider opening a yam station and so plug themselves into the trade network.

They were astonished at my words and one after the other began raising objections. They couldn’t believe the Mongols would not just wipe them out once they rediscovered them. They were sure that even if the Mongols left them in peace, the Tsalagi wouldn’t. If they were on the trade network, would not that expose them to the plagues again? If they were left in peace by their neighbors and integrated into the Khanate, would they not then be forced to send all their young men to campaign or even be taxed?

I assured them the Khanate would not only leave them in peace, they would protect them from any harm. The Ani’ Yun’-wiya (I would not use their term) would not bother them at all, or the Khanate would punish them. Plague wandered around with or without trade routes as their own experience should have taught them. No one was forced to go on campaign; it was always voluntary. They would have to send their young men to be trained, but campaigning was never required. As to taxes, they probably would have to pay them, but not for a while, and they had never been onerous in this Khanate, so far.

It took all day for me to answer their objections. It seemed every time I answered one, three more were brought up, but in truth they were all variations on the same things, fear of the Khanate, fear of the Ani’ Yun’-wiya, fear of plague, and fear of disappearing. Eventually, I won them all over, and they asked me to help them find a good site for a unified village and help integrate them into the Khanate. I agreed to do so.

Since they had no fields under cultivation, there was no pressing reason why they couldn’t all come together, so I suggested they get all their people in one spot while I looked around for a good place for them to build their town. They agreed. I went downstream and found an excellent site only half a day’s ride away from the village. There was ample room for a town and fields. I hurried back to the village and directed them to the site. A few days later, I was helping them lay out the town and clear the fields. I sent an adventurous young man named Fus down the river to the nearest Cusabo town with a message for its headman. His parents were very fearful for him, but I reminded them that the Cusabo had always been a very peaceful people.

About a week later, Fus returned with a group of Cusabo headed by their Mico, Cussappa. He was shocked to learn that there were still Kofitachiki alive and wanted to help them. He brought seeds for centli, squash, and beans, and people to show them how to plant them and care for them. It was rather late for planting, but not too late. He also brought along people to help them make more sturdy houses of wood rather than grass, and teachers who could teach them to write. He actually thanked me for giving him the opportunity to help save the Kofitachiki. I later learned that his father had been a Kofitachiki who had gone on campaign and had not quite made it back home.
I stayed with them about halfway through the summer to make sure all was going well. The son of the old man had been elected Mico of the town, and he had, indeed, decided to remarry. The old man was very happy and all thanked me profusely. They even sort of named the town after me. They called it Tutalosi, which means, “bird town.” I would have preferred Crow Town, but they did not revere the crow, so they got as close to it as they could comfortably. I was thanked profusely and cheered heartily as I rode out of town. Cuauhtzin considered all the noise a challenge and did his best to shout them down. My ears still ring when I remember that day.

35
Tutalosi to Capawake, 106 K
(Augusta, GA to Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 1474)

Not long after I left Tutalosi, the land along the river began to get swampy. I was forced to ride inland a little and soon found myself in a tangle of forest. It appeared to be a second-growth forest, so someone must have cleared the area about twenty-odd years before. After about two days of fighting my way through the tangle, I decided I’d be better off back on the riverbank. When I finally got back to the river, the bank was even swampier, so I was again forced inland. This time I found an older forest and I could move through it more easily. I had to be very careful of the direction, however, because the trees were so tall and thick that it was like twilight under the canopy. The air was still and dank and the insects were out in full force. I was very grateful that I had some of my brother’s famous repellent in my pack. It was really quite effective. Cuauhtzin didn’t much like the smell of it, but he did enjoy all the insects and was constantly snapping in one direction or the other trying to catch them.

I finally came out into a cultivated field and my first Cusabo town. It turned out to be Cussappa’s town. He had returned from Tutalosi a while ago and now invited me to stay with him and discuss the future of the new town. I agreed, since I wanted to be sure he didn’t try to turn them into a Cusabo town. He seemed to be very open to suggestion and I urged him to consult the Kofitachiki elders and try to reconstruct as much of their original culture as could be salvaged. Of course, if the people wanted to change something that was up to them, but I did feel they should have a choice. In practice, I suppose, none of the tribes were as they were when we first came here except, perhaps, for the Inuit and the other tribes of the far north, although even they have been affected by trade with us and have changed a little. I couldn’t say if that was good or bad, but on the other hand, the Mongols had also changed here from what Grandfather had said. I would think cultures change when they see such change as an improvement, although sometimes it is just because they are impressed by the new culture and think the adaptation will make them equally impressive. I suspect that that caused much of the superficial change among the people native to this land. Of course, some groups were wiped out and their remnant absorbed and some simply abandoned their old ways and adopted ours to the point that their only connection to their old tribe is their names and their languages. From what I’ve seen in my travels, the least changed are the most isolated such as the far north and the far northwest. Of the others, those that allied with us but remained apart like the Ani’ Yun’-wiya, the Pansfalaya, the Tsoyaha, and the Anishinabe have retained their identity, but others like the Ocheti shakowin, the Ka-i-gwu, the Dinne, and all those who left all and joined the Mongols were now indistinguishable in all but minutiae. And those who were defeated but not wiped out like the Hotcangara and many of the tribes of Anahuac retain a few differences out of spite, but nothing of any real significance.

I left Cussappa’s town after a few days and now was on a well-maintained trade road connecting the Cusabo towns. Because of the swampy nature of the terrain along the river, I stayed at the yams in the towns along the way. Three days later, I reached the delta of the Cusabo. I left the last town in the morning and rode to the sea, or at least as close as I could get. The road ended at a small dock where local boats could put in from the offshore islands which appeared to be inhabited. I got off my horse and, leaving Cuauhtzin on the saddle, undressed and wadded into the tidal water up to my neck. I returned to the shore, made a little fire, and burned some nawak’osis in a final tribute to Carlotta. Once I had dried off, I got dressed again and returned to the nearby Cusabo town.

I wandered around the town a bit wondering what to do next. I really wasn’t looking at anything; I was just walking and thinking about Carlotta. The next time I was aware, I was down by the riverfront. They had a sort of ferry set up to cross the river at this point. I had passed a bridge about a day’s ride upriver, but I suppose this was thought to be the best way at this point. It was a large raft that was attached to both sides of the river with thick ropes that would be wound and unwound on either side to propel it back and forth. I had never seen anything quite like it before, and I soon noticed that there were Koryo running it. I assumed it was one of their designs.

As I watched the raft going back and forth for a while, I suddenly decided what I could do. I had never been to Carlotta’s birthplace. It would be interesting to see it. Of course, she was not particularly fond of it and never expressed any interest in returning, but it was another connection to her, and I suppose my mind was grasping at anything at this point. When the ferry returned to my side, I approached and paid the fare. I got aboard and waited until it was considered full enough to cross. A light breeze blew in from the sea while we crossed and it was most pleasant. I had to put Cuauhtzin under my cloak for this passage and he was muttering imprecations throughout the ride.

On the north side of the Cusabo, the land was even swampier near the shore. The trade road was on a raised wooden causeway above and through the swamp until solid ground was finally reached about an hour’s ride from the landing. There was a yam here and I correctly assumed it was the last for about ninety li, so I stopped. The air was quite dank and the night was very clammy and unpleasant. I had noticed that the road ran just about due north, so since the coast ran northeast, I was probably some distance from the sea by now. The following day, I noticed the road was still running north, and at the end of the day, I was in a small Cusabo town on the bank of a small river. The water in the river was brackish, however, so there was probably an inlet nearby.

I crossed the river over the bridge the next morning and noticed that the road turned a little northeast. At about midmorning, it began to rain. At first it was a drizzle, then a steady rain, then a downpour, then back gradually to a drizzle where it remained for most of the day with only an occasional break. It was much too hot for my rain gear—except for my ‘Lingit hat, so I was thoroughly soaked through and uncomfortable by the time we reached the yam. Cuauhtzin was also fairly wet and spent considerable time preening that evening. The next few days the rain continued off and on, sometimes heavy, usually light. The night of the fourth day of rain, there was a spectacular storm with lightning crashing everywhere. Cuauhtzin did not try to shout it down but cried out piteously, so I had to get up and comfort him.

The following day, the sky was clear, the air was fresh, and the temperature was cooler. That day I crossed the Sewee River. The nice weather lasted about two days until I crossed the Winyaw River. Then, the pattern repeated itself. I was beginning to think I had made a poor decision traveling along the coastal swamps in the summer. Farther along the road, I came upon the Great Sound Tribes. I just rode through their towns and only stopped at the yams. Those of them that ran the yams were very pleasant and thoughtful. Eventually, I reached a fork in the road that was not marked on my map. As near as I could tell, the right fork was the newer road. I knew I was approaching the Great Bay, so I assumed there must be a new bridge or ferry lower down the Powhatan River than the one marked on the map, so I turned right.

Late in the day I came upon a village of the Great Bay Tribes, virtually indistinguishable from those of the Great Sound Tribes. I stopped at the yam just beyond the village for the night. The next morning I continued on the road. It turned sharply east and crossed the Nansamund River, then turned a little north and crossed another river. This one was marked on my map as the South Chesapeak River. Just beyond the river, there was a fairsized town also called Chesapeak. Once past the town, the road turned sharply north, and soon I was crossing the East Chesapeak River. Over that river, the road turned a little to the west and crossed the North Chesapeak River. From the looks of my map, I was heading toward a dead end unless there was a really long ferry just ahead. There couldn’t be a bridge across the bay.

It was a little after noon when I came over a rise and could see the bay spread out before me. The trees had been cut down from here all the way to the shore, and ahead in a small semicircular bay protected from the sea by facing west toward the Powhatan River was a bustling city that looked nothing like the Great Bay Tribe towns and was also not on my map. As I drew near, I could see that they were building ships, very large ships, in a series of dry docks on the shore west of the city. I could also see that there was a harbor in the town and about a dozen ships were anchored offshore in the small bay. To my surprise, I saw that there was a small army encampment just before the town. It looked like a jagun detached from the Snake Ordu. As I reached the sentry, he just looked at me and waved me on. I was tempted to ask what was going on, but I decided to keep a low profile.

When I entered the city, it was afire with activity all centered on the shipbuilding. Most of the people looked like Koryo and a similar tribe, with less-flattened faces. I rode over to the shipyard and the men in charge appeared to belong to the non-Koryo tribe. One of the ships they were building was amazing. It had to be four hundred feet long and one hundred fifty feet wide. I must have been staring at it gape mouthed for some time. They were also working on some smaller ships, more like the ones on which I had traveled to the Khanate of the Clouds. I could see that they were also starting on another of the huge ships. I turned back to the city to look for an inn. I found several of them ranged along the waterfront.

None of them would let me keep Cuauhtzin in my room, but the last one told me there was a small place just east of city that would probably let me keep him. I found the place finally, in a little clearing in the woods about three li east of town. It looked more like a yam than an inn, but it was clean and in good repair. An old Leni lenape named Neconis ran it. He was delighted to have me stay and insisted I join him for dinner. His wife was a fine cook and I very much enjoyed the dinner. Like most Leni lenape, he was quite garrulous.

Neconis confirmed that this had been a yam, the only place to stay in the area before the city was built. The city was called Longjiang after some place in the old land. The men in charge were Hanjen, not Koryo, and had been here only about two years now. He had heard that there was a similar shipyard on the Western Sea in a city called Nanjing on Salmon Sound. From what he had heard, these Hanjen had fled their land because of some sort of political problem and were now building ships for the Khanate. I mentioned the size of the ships they were working on, but he didn’t know anything about the ships they were building. He did tell me where I could inquire about passage on a ship. I had decided I had enough of traversing swamps and reasoned that if the trade road ends in Longjiang, there must be available transportation. He confirmed this.

The next day I returned to the city and followed Neconis’ directions to a small house in front of the harbor. Inside was a Koryo with whom I made arrangements. It seemed that there was a ship leaving for the north in two days. It was bound for the new port, Zheng He, near the mouth of the Leni lenape River. This port wasn’t on my map either. I asked if there were any more new ports along the east coast and he said that another was being built in the south on the south side of the Stono River. I told him that I had been in that area and the road didn’t go there. He assured me that when the port was ready, the road would fork to there just as it did below here. I suspected he was right.

I went back to the dry docks to watch the shipbuilding. I got as close as I could without getting in the way and spent the day there. The workers seemed to be organized in teams, each doing a specific task. Every team was led by one of the Hanjen. About half of the workers were Hanjen and half were Koryo. I didn’t see any of the locals represented except among the small group of spectators. Late in the afternoon, I felt that someone was looking at me. I turned to find it was the jagun commander.

“Are you not the Crow, the great warrior?”
“I am the Crow. Whether I am a great warrior I cannot say.”
“I am honored to meet you. I am Hadebah, jagun commander from the Snake Ordu.”
“The honor is mine,” I replied. “Isn’t that a Kadohadacho name?”

“Yes, it is. I am Kadohadacho, the tribe that contributed the immortal Smoking Mirror to the Khanate,” he waxed.

“Grandfather always wrote with great admiration for him. He was probably his best friend in life.” “You are grandson of the Raven? Are you not too young?”
“No, I am the youngest son of his youngest son.”
“I feel like I am in contact with the roots of the Khanate.”
“Are you related to Smoking Mirror?”
“No, not at all. I was from the smaller town across the river from his.”
“Yes, I know that town, I went through it a couple of times. It is very nice,” I said diplomatically. “You are most kind. What brings you here?”

“I am traveling north on one of the ships in the harbor. It doesn’t sail for two days so I’m watching the shipbuilding.”

“Isn’t the size of the ship amazing?”
“Indeed. Do you think it will actually float?”
“I don’t know, but Chen Huan, the builder, says it will.”
“Do you know him?”
“We escorted him here and are stationed here as a symbolic guard for him.”
“That’s rather unusual. The Khakhan ordered this?”
“Yes. It is rather boring duty. Would you like to meet Chen Huan?”
“I would. But he does look rather busy at the moment.”
“Join us for dinner tonight. He and I always eat together at the camp. Come at dusk.”
“Thank you, I will be there.”

I rode back to the old yam to tell Neconis what I would be doing that evening. He promised to keep a room for me. I think he meant that as a joke, since I was the only one staying there. By dusk I was riding up to the camp, four straight lines of conical tents. I asked directions to Hadebah’s quarters and was directed to middle tent in the first line. The guard announced me, and Hadebah came out to greet me and lead me into the tent. We sat cross-legged on the ground and chatted while we waited for Chen Huan. He soon came and bowed in greeting to us both. He was not a young man, perhaps in his fifties, but slim and muscular and full of energy like a man half his age. He was of middle height and wore a thin, neatly trimmed mustache and beard. Hadebah made the introductions and Chen Huan looked at Cuauhtzin and me with bright curious eyes.

“Are you not a Ferengi?” he asked. “And is this bird from your land?”

 

“I haven’t been called that before,” I answered, “but my grandfather used to be called that in the old land. The bird is native to Anahuac, where I was born.”

 

“Your grandfather was from the Middle Kingdom?”

I told him my family story; then he told me his. It seemed that about seventy years ago the Yonle emperor, Zhu Di, ordered a great fleet to be built and sail all over the southern and western sea. Chen Huan’s grandfather had moved to Nanjing to help build that fleet and one of his great uncles had sailed with it. Less than thirty years later, when he was just a boy, the Xuande emperor, Zhu Zhanji, ordered the fleet dismantled and all shipbuilding confined to shallow draft river vessels. His father then took his family to Choson (the new name for Koryo) so he could continue building ocean ships, but the Yi Dynasty king, Sejong, was not interested in building great ships, only smaller ones. So his father put away the plans and turned to building smaller ships. After his father died, he had remained in the craft and continued building ships in Choson. About ten years ago, a man for whom he had just built a ship for trading with us told him about the Khakhanate. He learned that Choson immigrants had been welcomed here and that there was some shipbuilding going on. He dug out his father’s old plans and moved his family here. He met with the Khakhan and was eventually dispatched to build a port and dry dock north of Dsidsila’letc, the very town to which I returned from exile. He told me it was about a day’s ride north of Dsidsila’letc and they had named it Nanjing for the city of his birth in “The Middle Kingdom.” Construction must have been under way when I was there, but no one mentioned it, and we must have been too far out to sea to see it when we sailed by. He said it only opened for business about four years ago, about the time I was there. He came here to Longjiang two years ago and would soon move on to the new ports to make sure all is well. His sons were running Nanjing and Zheng He, and he was grooming his nephew to run Longjiang, which was named after the shipyard in Nanjing.

I asked after what Zheng He was named and he told me that he was the eunuch admiral of the Ming emperors. It was he who led the grand expeditions to the south and west. He traveled to many places I had never heard of like Champa, Malacca, Kuli, Lanca, Hormuz, and Malindi. All of these were apparently south and west of the old land. I had seen a map of the old land once in Tlatelolco, but the style was confusing, and it was a little hard to follow since it had a lot of Hanjen writing on it, and I had never learned that. I asked him if the Khakhan had asked him to draw a map of his “Middle Kingdom,” but he said he hadn’t. I guess that meant we weren’t planning on invading it with these huge ships. So I took the plunge and asked if he knew why the Khakhan wanted the big ships. He had no idea, but was very happy for the chance to build them.

“How many dynasties have there been in the old land since the Mongols were overthrown?” I asked him. “Only one, the Ming,” he said.
“But you called the two emperors by different names.”

“Oh, that. Yonle and Xuande are titles or themes for the reigns. The emperor chooses them when he is invested. Yonle means ‘lasting joy’ and Xuande means ‘propagating virtue.’ ”

 

“Did the first bring lasting joy and the latter propagate virtue?”

 

“Does anyone live up to his youthful expectations? The Yonle emperor was a great man, the Xuande emperor was not.”

 

“Did it seem strange to you to flee to Mongols after your people overthrew them?”

“My people didn’t overthrow anyone. I am a Yi. We used to live peacefully by the sea in what is now Fujian Province in the southeast. We were conquered and oppressed by one northwestern tribe after the other, the Shang, the Zhou, the Qin, and the Han, and then it was far northern tribes, the Hsiung-nu, the T’o-pa, the Ch’itan, the Jurchen, and the Mongols. It made no difference to us who ruled the empire as long as we could exploit the sea in peace.”

“I don’t think I’ve heard of the Yi or most of those other tribes you mentioned. Grandfather tended to call all of you Hanjen, although I did hear something about a people called Sungjen.”

“The Han and the Sung are northwest tribes. The Sung came after the Han and were pressed down to the south by your Chingis. Your Kubilai then conquered them. Many of the people of the Middle Kingdom consider themselves Han because of the popularity of the first Han emperor.”

“How is it a shipbuilder knows so much history?”

“As I told you, when I was a boy, the Xuande emperor dismantled the fleet. My father decided there would be more hope for me in the civil service than in the family trade, so he sent me to learn as much as I could at the school in Nanjing. From there I went to the capital, Tatu, to continue my studies. By the time I had finished, my father had moved to Choson, so I joined him and reentered the family trade. He was very pleased that I chose family over personal ambition.”

I could see that our host was glazing over at our discussion, so I turned back to talking about the ships. Hadebah had also been watching the construction and was very interested in the subject. Chen Huan confirmed that the ships were at least four hundred feet long and more like one hundred sixty feet wide. They were called bao chuan, which meant, “treasure boats.” They were a combination of the shachuan (“sand boats”) of the shallow northern sea between China and Choson and the fuchuan (“Fuchai’s boats”) of the southern sea. They had the V-shaped hull and long keel and used the heavy ballast of the fuchuan but had the masts and rigging of the shachuan. The keel was made of long pieces of wood bound by iron. There were two iron anchors about eight feet long in the stern and floating anchors that could be deployed from the sides of the ship to lessen turbulence in rough seas. Holes in the prow would partially fill with water in rough seas and dampen the violent rocking of the waves. The rudder was balanced and could be raised and lowered. Inside, the ship had four decks like the fuchuan. The lower one was for ballast; the second had watertight compartments for cargo and storage; the third had the crew quarters, kitchen and eating area; the fourth held the cannon. There were nine staggered masts which held twelve square silk sails instead of the bamboo sails of the Choson ships on which I had sailed. The original treasure ships were luxuriously appointed with spacious cabins for officials and windowed halls and foyers with balconies as well as railings. The ships were carved and painted and the bottom whitewashed. Instead there would be adequate cabins for officials without any frills and the carving and painting was limited to a figure and “dragon eyes” on the prow. The latter seemed to be a custom that was supposed to make sure the ship could find its way to its destination. And, of course, the hull would be covered with copper sheets rather than whitewash.

Chen Huan added that he was also building smaller ships. Mahan or “horse boats” were only about three hundred forty feet long by one hundred forty feet wide. They were, indeed, for carrying horses. Next were gongchuan or “supply boats” which were about two hundred sixty feet by one hundred twenty feet. Then there were rongyun or “troop transports” which were only two hundred twenty by ninety feet. Finally he was also building some of the fuchuan, which were only one hundred eighty feet by seventy feet. These last were the “warships” for battle at sea. I had to ask whom the Khakhan thought he was going to battle at sea, but neither Chen Huan nor Hadebah had any idea. He added that the original fleets also had water ships that carried enough fresh water for all the crews for four or five weeks, but the Khakhan had not requested any such ships, so he doubted that they would be used for any very long voyages—at least for now.

Hadebah sensibly pointed out that crews would have to be trained to man such ships before they could go anywhere. Chen Huan agreed but said that such training was already under way on the west coast and a new port was planned for Raven Bay. Eventually there would be ports all along both coasts. I asked if any of the locals were being recruited for the crews. He assured me they were and that there was a lot of interest among the people of the northwest—he didn’t know the tribal names, but they lived north of Salmon Sound along the coast and the offshore islands. That sounded like the tribes from the ‘Lingit to the northwestern Salst people. It figured the ships would intrigue them. I suggested the Taino and the Putun Maya would likely be very interested also. I added that perhaps the southeastern Timacua, the Calusa, the Cusabo, and the coastal Northeast Bands should be recruited as well. He promised to pass on my suggestion to the Khakhan in his progress report. I told him to take credit for the idea himself rather than attribute it to me, but he said he could not do that. I sincerely hoped that I had not caused the Khakhan to return his attention to me.

I returned late to the yam, but Neconis was there to greet me. The next day I returned to watch the shipbuilding, but this time Chen Huan noticed me and called me over to join him. He then took me aboard the various ships and pointed out all the details he had been telling me about the night before. I think I learned more than I ever wanted to know about shipbuilding that day. It was an experience to be with someone who was so enthusiastic about his work. He fairly glowed as he waxed eloquently about the ships and how they were built. He invited me to join him and Hadebah for dinner again and I did. We chatted amiably about various banalities; then I thanked them for their hospitality and excused myself early since my ship would sail with the tide the next morning a little after dawn. I returned to the yam and chatted a little with Neconis before turning in for the night. He got me up well before dawn and I rode down to the waterfront in plenty of time to be rowed out to the ship. A little after first light, we raised the anchor and began moving westward out of the little bay. We turned sharply east once we cleared the northern edge of the bay and we picked up speed as we entered the Great Bay with a fair northeastern wind.

We soon lost sight of land in the south but could just begin to see land in the north. The ship cleared the bay and turned northeast just keeping the land in sight in the west. The weather was fair and the trip was much more pleasant than slogging my way through swamps would have been. I decided I really could get used to this sort of travel. Cuauhtzin also seemed to enjoy it and I was relieved to note how strongly he clung to my shoulder when we were on deck. My fellow passengers were the usual sort, merchants. I didn’t recognize any of them, but most were Leni lenape, the Putun Maya of the Blue Sky. There were also a few other tribes represented. There was one Amani Yukhan, one Numakiki, two Kadohadacho, one Taunika, and one from the Northeastern Bands. This last one I decided to talk to, since he might be able to help me reach my destination. He proved to be a Mahican named Occon. He lived north of the new port city Zheng He, our destination. He said his tribe lived on the east bank of the Leni lenape River north of its mouth and often collected shellfish on the island where the new port was located. The port was confined to the southern tip of the island, so there was no problem. The shellfish were more plentiful on the eastern side of the island. He had been to Capawake many years ago. There was no road directly there, but one would take me near enough into Wampanoag lands that I could get directions. He warned me that the Wampanoag were not exactly friendly to outsiders, but they did respect (or fear) the Khanate, so I shouldn’t have any trouble.

The voyage took ten days and it was about noon on the tenth day when we arrived at the new port and dropped anchor. New was the word for the port. There were a few dozen houses, mostly the wooden ones the Koryo or Choson favored. A long pier was under construction as was a long row of dry docks east of the port. There was a riot of activity at both construction sites and I could see that people were also building houses in the large cleared area around the port. Most of the island was still wooded. The passengers and their cargo were rowed ashore in small boats. Those of us with no cargo went first. Once ashore, I asked if there was a yam nearby and I was directed to the far northern edge of the port. It was a bit of a walk, but I reached there in midafternoon. It was right on the edge of the cleared area not far from the Leni lenape River. I secured horses and a place to stay for the night.

The next morning I set off north on the trade road. It cut through the woods eventually ending in a road that was the main trade road. To the west it would lead to the bridge over the Leni lenape River. I turned east eventually coming to a bridge over a river called the Montauk on my map. On the far side, there were towns of one of the northeast bands called the Wappinger along the road. The road turned northeast for some distance, then gradually turned more east. I continued on it for seven days. The other bands I passed through were the Niantics and the Narragansetts before coming to the Wampanoag. The yam at which I stopped on that seventh day was at the point where the road turned sharply northward. I asked the keeper if he could direct me to Capawake. He looked at me as if I was confused and asked if I really wanted to go to that miserable island. I assured him I did. He shrugged and suggested I follow a small trail leading southeast to the coast, then take the coastal trail south to a village on the coast across the straight from Capawake. There I might be able to bribe someone to take me over to the island. He warned me it would be about a hundred and twenty li and there was no yam on that trail, so I would either have to get a village to take me in, or camp along the path.

The following day, I found the path (it wasn’t even a trail), and late in the day, it debauched on the coast at a tiny village. I found where the trail turned south along the coast and followed it until it got dark. I camped on the beach. The next day I continued on the trail and arrived at a tiny village late in the morning. I asked if anyone could take me over to the island, but all the boats were out fishing, and I had to wait until late in the day as they came in. After asking several of the men, I finally found one who had not had a good day and was willing to take me over for a fee. I paid someone else to look after the horses and got in the small boat. I helped row the twelve li across and got his promise to return for me in two days.

The island was heavily wooded, and there were no trails through the woods that I could see, so I turned right and walked along the coast. I knew Carlotta’s Nashanekammuck was in the southwestern part of the island, so I thought this was probably the best course until I found someone and got directions. I camped for the night on the beach and felt very close to Carlotta. That night I dreamt about the first time I saw her. In the dream I turned and rode after her wagon, but it remained just out of reach no matter how hard I rode. The next morning I continued along the beach. I came upon a path around midday just as I was reaching the western end of the island. It looked like there was a little island off the west coast of the main island, but I found out later that it was connected to it by narrow piece of land.

The trail took me through the woods to the south side of the island, and then turned along the beach toward the east. I followed it and, late in the day, came upon the tiny village. There were only a dozen houses and all the people were on the beach taking care of their catch of the day. I approached the small group on the beach and they looked up warily at me. I spoke to them in Mongol, but only one of them could answer me, and his Mongol was barely intelligible. I explained that I had married a girl from this village and had come here to see it after her death. It took a while, but he finally understood and asked who the girl was. I told them, but they didn’t recognize the name. Then I mentioned Hiacoomes and one old man remembered him. With some difficulty, he managed to direct me to the site of Hiacoomes house. The house was long gone and there was really no trace of it, but the man was certain of the spot. I thanked them for their help and camped on the site for the night. I was on the place of Carlotta’s birth!

36
Capawake to the Pelican Ordu, 106 K
(Martha’s Vineyard, MA to W. LA, 1474)

I did not sleep well that night as I was troubled by strange dreams that kept waking me up. I realized the next morning that this had not been a great idea. I didn’t really need to chase down Carlotta’s roots to be near her. She would always be as close to me as my memories. I caught the lone Mongol speaker before he left to go fishing and asked him if there was a trail across the island to the north side. He gave me some rather convoluted, if picturesque directions. I was to travel into the sun (east) until I saw the boulder next to the three bent trees that had no leaves. Behind that boulder I would find a path. The path would lead me to a spring. Beyond the spring I would find another path that would lead me east again. I should only follow it for twenty paces, and then I should look for a bush shaped like a whale on the left. Behind it I would find a very small trail leading north. After following it some distance, I would notice that it would begin to get wider. At that point I should look for another small trail that headed to the northwest. That would lead me to the northern end of the island not far from the tip. I had to have him repeat the directions a few times and even drew an impromptu map in the sand to make sure I understood him. I then thanked him and the old man who had pointed out the site of Hiacoomes’ house and set out with more than a few misgivings.

Fortunately, the man’s directions were very good. I did have a little trouble with “the bush that was shaped like a whale.” I didn’t see the resemblance at all. I also almost missed the last turn, but indeed, about midafternoon, I did come out just a little east of where I had landed the day before. I walked down the beach to the spot where I had agreed to meet the man from the mainland village. I could see that there were a number of boats still out on the sea in the channel and eventually one of the boats turned toward me, landed, and picked me up. It was not the same man but another who had not had much luck that day. I suppose a paying passenger was better than nothing. We returned to the village and I picked up my horses and left late in the day. At dusk I again camped on the beach.

The following morning the sky looked threatening so I got ready quickly and rode north. Before I reached the small village, the rain had already progressed from drizzle to downpour. I continued anyway and before long I was being pelted with hail. Cuauhtzin whimpered under my cloak. The hail returned to rain but continued heavy. Late in the day, I found a small trail heading off to the left and decided to try it since I did not relish spending a night in the rain. The trail was short and it ended at a tiny clearing just big enough for a small rundown hut. It looked abandoned so I entered through the door. It was indeed abandoned but the roof seemed to be sound. I left Cuauhtzin in the house and found the horses some slight cover under a thick stand of trees. I returned to the house and shared some stale centli bread with Cuauhtzin before turning in for the night.

The next morning, I woke up early, gathered the horses, and went back down to the main trail. It was still drizzling, but I really did not relish hanging around here any longer. It continued raining all day, but not as hard as the day before, and by early afternoon, I had reached the yam. The keeper remembered me and asked if I had made it to Capawake. I told him I had. He asked me what I thought of it and I admitted I had seen few meaner places. He dropped the subject and I didn’t pursue it. I had decided to return to Zheng He and get back south before summer turned to fall and the nights got too cold for Cuauhtzin.

I retraced my path to the port not really noticing much around me since I was lost in my memories. By the time I reached the yam north of Zheng He, I snapped out of my reverie and began thinking about what I would do next. I thought about spending the winter on one of the Taino islands, and then I thought I might instead go visit my sister Mathilde or maybe just wander around the south. In the morning I walked down to the town to secure passage on the first ship going south. I had decided to let that dictate where I would go. I got directions to the house of the agent and asked him how soon he could get me south. He told me that I had just missed the ship that was heading to the Khanate of the Clouds. Another would be sailing the next morning to Anahuac. Among other places, it would be stopping at Tonggye, the very place I had landed when I returned from campaign some eleven years before. I booked passage to Tonggye and then wandered over to watch the construction.

The pier was already finished and there were a few ships tied up to it. I noticed that they were already working on building a second pier, but it was just getting started. I went over to see how the dry docks were coming. They seemed to be finished with four of them and they were working on a fifth. None of them looked as large as the huge ones in Longjiang. It looked like materials were being gathered to begin building a ship in the first dry dock. I was watching them get started when a voice interrupted me.

“Minghan Commander Crow, you will come with me.”

I turned to see four members of the Kashik (the Khakhan’s personal guard) standing behind me. Their leader had the sash of a jagun commander. All wore the black armor with red trim of their unit as well as the wary look of hunters waiting for their prey’s next move. I looked them over for a moment, and then told the leader to lead on. I couldn’t imagine that the Khakhan was here, but I knew I had done nothing wrong and in any case was a little indifferent toward my fate. They led me to one of the ships tied up to the pier. It was not particularly large or ornate. I looked just like one of the fuchuan type ships. Once aboard I noticed that there were a large number of the Kashik on board. I really wondered who was on the ship. They led me to the stern to the main cabin area and I waited outside the door as the leader of my “retinue” went in to announce me. He soon opened the door again and motioned me in. I followed him into a large room with many people standing around apparently waiting. He did not wait there but continued through another door leading down a long hallway to yet another door. This opened to reveal a large room with an empty elevated chair. There were windows cut into the back of the cabin, but they were covered with heavy red curtains. My guide left me and returned through the door.

I stood there for a while scratching Cuauhtzin’s head and looking around the room. It was illuminated by a rather thick candle in a heavy iron holder fastened to the floor just to the left of the chair. The room was not furnished, except for the candle and the rather ornate raised chair. It had some rather stylized animal parts carved into the back and the arms and feet. There was the head of either a very strange bird or some sort of monster looming up over the back of the chair and the arms and legs of the chair looked rather like claws or talons. The whole thing was painted black and lacquered. Otherwise, there was a white wool rug just under the chair and covering the platform. The rest of the floor and the walls were highly polished wood with an almost golden glow to it. Finally a young man approached me from a door to the left. He wordlessly indicated that I should follow him and led me to a door on the right. He opened the door and ushered me in. He indicated a chair and left. I wondered if he was a mute.

This smaller room was furnished with a table, two chairs, and a smaller, unlit candle in a holder fastened to the table. There was a window above the table and the red curtains were tied back to let in the light. The table, chairs, floor and walls were the same highly polished wood as the floor and walls in the larger room. It occurred to me that this cabin was quite similar to the Khakhan’s yurt in Khanbalikh, although necessarily scaled down. Maybe he was here. I sat down and stared absently out the window for a while until finally the door opened. I stood up to greet my host and found it was the Khakhan. He looked older than when I last saw him, but he was still tall and slim with the same intense eyes. He motioned me to sit and stared at me for an uncomfortable while.

“I am sorry about the death of your wife,” he finally said.
“Thank you—it was a heavy loss,” I replied.

“It seems I need to thank you for bringing the Kofitachiki into the Khanate and for suggesting tribes to recruit for my ships.”

 

“No thanks are necessary. I wanted to help the pathetic remnant of the Kofitachiki and I would not want the local tribes to think your navy was only for the immigrants.”

“Remarkable foresight. Where did you get that bird?”
“It was a childhood gift from Nezahualcoyotl.”
“It must be a nuisance to have that attached to your shoulder all the time.”
“No, he’s usually quite well behaved, although he can be rather rude at times.”
“Rude?”
“He speaks Otomi, or rather he curses in Otomi.”
“No wonder he was given to you. He must be rather old by now. How long do they live?”
“He may outlive me. I understand they can live seventy years or so.”

“Well, I suppose it’s fortunate you like him. But what do you plan to do with yourself now. You have been wandering around aimlessly since your wife’s death. Down the Cusabo, up the coast over to Capawake? What are you doing?”

“You seem to be rather well informed about my travels. Perhaps you also know that Carlotta wanted her ashes poured into a river that flowed into the Eastern Sea. After I did that, I followed them down to the sea. Then I decided to visit her birthplace, since I had never been there.”

“Isn’t that a bit morbid?”
“Perhaps. But I thought it might make be feel closer to her.”

“I envy such an attachment to another person. I can’t imagine it, but it must have been remarkable. To be able to trust some one so much that you are devastated by their loss.”

“I am sorry that you did not have such a love.”
“It isn’t in my nature. But to return to the question, what will you do now? Why are you going to Tonggye?”

“It was the first ship I could get that was headed south. I need to be south before fall. It can get too cold for Cuauhtzin.”

“You’re going south because of the bird?”
“Yes.”
“I don’t remember seeing you with it before. What did you do with it when you were on campaign?”

“My father had a servant who was very fond of Cuauhtzin and took care of him. The last time I left he was getting too old and felt he would soon die, so I took Cuauhtzin with me.”

“So what will you do in Tonggye?”
“I’m not sure. I may go visit my sister or I may just stay among the Pansfalaya.”

“Why don’t you go on campaign again? You would surely be a tumen commander this time—especially if I recommend it. By the time you returned, your son would be old enough to go with you wherever you wanted to go and you would no doubt cover yourself with glory again. Besides we are getting close to the end of the land way in the south and there is a vast plain there just like in the middle of this Khanate. It is probably even warm enough for your bird.”

“If I went back on campaign, it would be in the Khanate of the Clouds. I would not feel right in the Green Mist.”

 

“Still loyal to your relatives, eh. You know the boy hates you and wants you dead. If you go there, I can’t protect you.”

“I am not afraid of death. You need not trouble yourself with protecting me.”
“As you wish, but you are a dangerous fool if you don’t fear death.”
“When your reason for life dies, would you not also welcome death?”

“All the more reason to go on campaign. It is easy to get killed on campaign if you want to die, and you will be remembered and celebrated in song and poems.”

“I don’t really care if my passing is not marked as long as I can be with Carlotta again.”
“How can you know you will be with her again?”

“I have seen her in visions and dreams and she has told me we would be together again after I die. But I can’t seek death, I promised to look after our son, and I won’t go back on that promise.”

“Very well. Good luck to you. I hope you find some peace.”
“Thank you, sire.”
“Now. What is your interest in shipbuilding?”
“I have none. It is rather interesting work and was diverting while I waited.”
“In Longjiang as well?”

“Of course. Chen Huan is a fascinating man, very caught up in his work. He lost me completely while explaining his art.”

 

“He is indeed a great artist, but he is too trusting. He should not be showing strangers his secrets.” “I was not exactly a stranger. We had dined together the night before. He is a very well educated man and we got along well.”

“So you do not remember enough of your instruction to be able to build the ships yourself?” “He only showed me around one day. You must have a very generous opinion of my abilities.” “I have learned never to underestimate your family.”
“Even if I could build such a ship, why would I, and how could I afford such an undertaking?” “You wouldn’t build it for yourself, but you might for someone else.”

“Who? Only you could afford such a ship. Anyway, I can’t imagine what you would want with it. But then I can’t imagine finding you on a ship in a port along the east coast. I thought you always stayed in Khanbalikh.” “Good. I’m glad you can’t imagine what you would do with such information or what I want with the ships or why I am here. I see no reason to detain you further. I may need your services next spring. Can I count on you?” “As long as you don’t want me to do anything immoral, I don’t see any problem.”

 

“That is not the best answer to give your Khan, but with you that will have to do. Don’t worry—I know who you are. You will be contacted at the time if you are needed.”

He rose and left the room quickly. Soon the young man returned and led me through the door to the hall. He indicated down the hall and disappeared back through the door behind me. He must have been a mute. I suppose that was one way to make sure he couldn’t tell anyone what was going on. I hoped he was born that way. I went down the hall, opened the door into the reception room, and passed through the large group still waiting. They all cast envious looks at me as I passed by. I went out the door and onto the deck. I nodded to my “escort” and went down the plank off the ship. I walked back into town and returned to watch the shipbuilding again. In the late afternoon, I walked to the yam and turned in early. I rose well before dawn the next morning and got to the pier in plenty of time to get aboard my ship. The Khakhan’s ship was still tied to the pier. The only activity aboard it was the guard, but I did notice a light dimmed by a drawn curtain in one of the rooms of the Khakhan’s cabin. The eastern sky was just beginning to lighten when we weighed anchor and eased away from the pier. We cleared the harbor islands and turned south. I could just see some of the villages on the coast of the large island called Montauk, as the sun began to rise. After we passed that island, the only land visible was to the west.
By midmorning I could no longer see land anywhere. I kept to myself the first day, just looking out at the ocean and wandering down to the kitchen to eat whatever was being served in silence. As usual there were no private rooms. All the passengers were housed in a large room right next to the kitchen area. We could go up on the main deck as long as we stayed out of the way of the crew. Fortunately there were only about twenty passengers so we weren’t too crowded. The next day I looked over my fellow passengers. All but two were obviously merchants; as usual almost all of them were Leni lenape. The other merchants I couldn’t immediately place, but eventually I figured out that they were an Anishinabe, a Taunika, and a Hewaktokto. The last of them was the hardest to figure out, his dress was like that of someone from Anahuac, but he didn’t look dark enough to be from there. The other two passengers looked like travelers. I supposed they could be agents of the Khakhan, but they looked like members of the Tsoyaha. As they spoke together, their language sounded more like Wazhazhe, but I really didn’t know that language very well. I decided to keep my own counsel on this trip and eschewed any fraternizing.

The downside of my aloofness was that it was a very long trip. Even with favorable winds, the trip took about two months. We stopped at Longjiang and exchanged a few passengers, all of them merchants. We stopped at the new port at the mouth of the Stono River, the agent in Longjiang had told me about. It was called Fuzhou. I remember thinking when I heard the obviously Hanjen name that it must be another place of significance to Chen Huan. I found out later that it was his birthplace. I was a little surprised that the Khakhan had indulged him like this, but I suspect he really didn’t care what the ports were called as long as they were built. Whatever the Khakhan’s faults were, they did not include self-aggrandizement or all of the ports would have been variations on his name. In a way, I decided I would miss him when he died.

We also stopped at the large Taino island of Cuba at an obviously refurbished port called Habana. It was named for the local Taino chieftaincy since there were no Taino towns on this spot. They favored placing their towns on hills overlooking the sea. The port was full of Tainos, however, so they seemed to have decided to amend their custom somewhat. The port had a few long piers and it looked like they were starting on dry docks. Needless to say there were quite a few Choson and perhaps some Hanjen in charge. I wondered how the easygoing Tainos were getting along with the driven Choson and Hanjen.

Again we exchanged passengers and, indeed, two of the Leni lenape merchants and I were the only ones left from the original complement. The new additions were a real mixed lot, Putun Maya, a few from the tribes of the Khanate of the Clouds, some from Anahuac, some Ben Zah, and various representatives from the Blue Sky. There was even a pair of whose origin I had no idea. Even listening to their language did not give me a clue. I concluded that they had to be from the Green Mist. But I still kept to myself and did not engage anyone in conversation.

Finally we pulled into Tonggye. It was now mid autumn. The majority of the passengers disembarked along with me, but another load of merchants and a few suspicious-looking types took our places. Tonggye had grown quite a bit since my last visit. There were three piers and some dry docks and several inns. The town itself was at least twice as large as I remembered it and at least two-thirds of the people were locals, mostly Timacua, from the Southeastern Cities and Pansfalaya. There were also a smattering of other tribes represented. The Choson had become the minority in their own town.

I didn’t even bother inquiring for lodgings at the inns but headed straight for the yam north of town that had been run by Hoopa Ullah eleven years before. I found the yam still operating although it only had a few horses and looked a little rundown. The keeper was a Timacua named Harpaha. He told me that Hoopa Ullah had retired a few years before after his wife died. He had moved to the Green Mist to stay with his son. Harpaha planned to close the yam this coming winter since there was so little business. He could only provide me with two horses since he was down to so few. I assured him that would be enough.

Over dinner I asked him what he planned to do after he closed the yam. He said that he would take over another one nearer to his home village. He asked me where I was headed and I told him I was going to Nanih Waiya. I had just decided to go there while talking to him. After that, perhaps I would get some guidance. After wasting my time going to Capawake, I was ready for some guidance.
I left early and followed the road west for about a week, then turned north for two weeks finally reaching Nanih Waiya late in the day. It had not changed at all since I had last been there. I liked that. I wanted to be rested when I contacted my spirit guide, so I went to the yam for the night. Konshak Lusa was, of course, long dead. His nephew, Ishtaya, now ran the yam. He was well past middle-age, but did not look so ancient as his uncle had. He was just as small and dark, however. He was also very friendly and remembered my last visit the year before as well as my visit long ago. He said that his uncle had remarked after I left that first time that I would likely return again whenever I needed guidance. I replied that his uncle had been right.

“My last visit here I was with my wife, the love of my life,” I added. “She died this past spring and I need to find some direction in life.”

“I am sorry for your loss. To have such a love in life is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for you could never have imagined such happiness. A curse for one day it must end and the survivor feels like only half a person.”

“Exactly. Still, I would not have missed it.”
“How could one regret tasting such bliss?”
“You sound like someone who has had a similar experience.”

“I have. My wife died some five years ago. My daughter helped keep me alive long enough that I made the adjustment. Still, I think of her constantly and dream of her every night.”

 

“I have spoken to my wife in both dreams and visions. That keeps me going. But it has been a while and I need some guidance.”

 

“Tomorrow should be a good day. You will have the hill to yourself since there is no festival and no one else is staying here tonight. Also it is late in the year, the insects are gone.”

 

“I look forward to it.”

I skipped breakfast and climbed up the hill the next morning. I fed Cuauhtzin and admonished him to be still. I sat down, made a little fire and burned some nawak’osis. I sat back and suddenly I was in the field of wildflowers. It occurred to me that it was the place where we had been married. I looked around for the very spot and soon found it. Suddenly it disappeared and I was in the miserable hut where I had spent the rainy night after leaving Capawake. The door opened and there in the rain was Carlotta.

“Why did you bring me here?” I asked.

 

“To make a point, dear one.” She smiled her beautiful smile. “Wherever you are I am with you. You don’t need to go anywhere to find me except in your heart. That is where I abide.”

 

“I know that now. How is John?”

 

“Fine. He is growing strong in spite of all that strange water dunking to which your Ani’ Yun’-wiya are constantly subjecting him. Is it really necessary?”

“It is to them. I remember all that from my childhood. Sometimes I thought I would never dry out.” “Your brother is looking for you again.”
“Really? He always seems to know where I am. What is wrong?”

“Nothing, he just thinks of you often and wants to check up on you. You don’t blame him or your father for what happened to me do you?”

 

“No. It isn’t anyone’s fault. I do wish you could have been resigned to not having any children. I’d still have you with me. We could have returned to our ‘exile’ again.”

“That would have been wonderful. Do you think of that time fondly?”
“It was the happiest time of my life. But I could never go back there again without you.”
“I told you. I am always with you wherever you go. You can’t go anywhere without me.”
“You are never far from my thoughts.”
“Nor you from mine.”
“What do you think I should do now?”

“Visit your sister. She could use some help and it would keep you busy until next spring. Then do go get our son.”

“I will do exactly as you suggest.”
“I couldn’t always get you to do that while I was alive.”
“I’m sorry if I was headstrong.”
“No. More often than not, you were right.”
“I so miss you.”
“I know my love. I miss you too.”

We embraced and the next thing I remembered I was back on the hill and Cuauhtzin was muttering quietly in Otomi. I looked around and realized it was already afternoon. The poor bird was probably hungry. I fed him a little, then went down the hill and back to the yam. Ishtaya greeted me cheerfully and invited me in for an early dinner. He said he could tell from my demeanor that I had gotten my answer. He suspected I would be hungry and that I would be leaving early in the morning. I confirmed all of his assumptions.

“So, where will you go?” he asked.
“To visit my sister in the Pelican Ordu. I will leave early tomorrow morning.”
“I will have a good meal ready for you.”

I turned in early and rose before dawn. I sat quietly at the base of the hill and watched the sunrise. Then I went back to the yam to have breakfast. As soon as I was finished, I took off on the road to the southwest. About a week and a half later, I was crossing the Missi Sipi on that same long bridge I had crossed several times before. Cuauhtzin was safely under my cloak while we crossed the wide river again. Another week and a half later, I was approaching the Pelican Ordu. I was pleased to find that they had moved a little farther south along the river, although they were still on the east side.

I asked for Aspenquid’s tent and was directed to the far eastern side of the camp. As I rode up I could see Mathilde busily smoking meat and running after little Carlotta. I watched the happy laughing child for a moment and remembered my last visit here and how much Carlotta had enjoyed the little girl. I sighed heavily and pulled up to the tent. Mathilde stopped suddenly and turned around.

“Oh Karl,” she whispered and ran to me. She clung to me crying and just said over and over, “I’m so sorry.”

Little Carlotta stopped and looked at us and came over, clung to her mother’s leg, and started crying also. Cuauhtzin had to get into the act and also started making crying sounds. That helped break the mood and we all had to laugh a little. Still Mathilde and I could not say anything to each other without tearing up again and we had to sit in silence holding on to each other with little Carlotta in our laps. When Aspenquid came in and saw the scene, he came in behind us and put an arm around each of us and laid his head down on Mathilde’s head. I knew what he was thinking. It could have happened to him and he would have been just as devastated.

It was a difficult day, but we got through it, and I plunged myself into helping them get ready for winter. They already had enough food for themselves, but as usual, Mathilde was looking out for the families whose men were away and that kept Aspenquid (when his duties would permit) and me busy for a few weeks. Of course, I could not take Cuauhtzin along hunting, so I had to slip out before dawn and get severely lectured on my return. Everyone loved to hear him carry on. Still, sometimes Mathilde would look at me and start crying again. Comforting her helped me learn to deal with my loss. Also, to my great joy, I began dreaming about Carlotta every night again. Spending the night dreaming of being in her arms made every day easier.

I had, of course, asked after the children. Aju had returned in the spring and had stayed on through the summer, but had felt that inevitable urge to travel and had gone west. Paula was expecting her second child in the spring. Her husband would be going on campaign next year and she would be coming back after her baby was born. Bedagi had gone on campaign this past spring just before Aju returned. He had not written yet, but was surely there by now. Sarah was still with Sealth’s family but should also return in the spring. Mathilde wearily confided that if she could just make it through the winter, she would have all the help she would need. I promised to stay with them unless the winter got too severe for Cuauhtzin. She and Aspenquid said that it did snow here, but not much and it usually melted in a few days. They rather liked that the Ordu kept moving south every year.

After I had been there almost a month, I got a much-forwarded letter from Nezahualpili. He had sent it to Mathilde who had sent it on to Itsati and Ghigooie had held it until she heard where I was. He wrote that he had gone on his spirit quest and had a number of questions about it. It seemed that he had more than a little trouble getting his brother to let him go on the quest. The latter was afraid some harm would come to him alone on a mountaintop. The final compromise involved him going on his quest with an escort that was not allowed to speak to him or in any way interfere with him, but only make sure that no harm came to him. From his questions it looked like he succeeded in spite of all the precautions. I answered his letter right away. I also got a letter from Ghigooie bringing me up to date on my son and reminding me I had promised to write to Cimnashote about settling down and raising a family.

I did feel I should write him a letter telling what had happened. As it turned out, that letter was helpful to me. I was able to put down all my feelings about Carlotta, the baby, and all that happened. I think it helped that had to organize my thoughts to write them down. It forced me to step aside for a moment and put everything in perspective. I asked Mathilde to read the letter before I sent it to make sure I had not rather discouraged him from settling down. She said that she had never read such a testament to love in her life, and if it didn’t make him long for it, there was something wrong with him. I wasn’t sure if that was true, but I sent him the letter.

37
The Khakhan Again, 107 K
(W. LA to Il D’Orleans, QB, 1475)

Somewhere in midwinter my brother Theodore finally caught up with me. He looked as hale and hardy as usual, but I noticed his hair was beginning to turn gray. It had been just over half a year since I had seen him and I was a little surprised that he looked older already. On the other hand, perhaps I just hadn’t noticed it since I was more than a little preoccupied at that time. He looked at me closely, no doubt trying to read how I was holding up. Then he gave everyone a hug and asked Mathilde and Aspenquid about their children. After answering, Mathilde turned the tables on him and asked about his family. He reported that Sarah and her new son were fine. John was studying with a colleague of his in Anahuac. Paula had also decided she wanted to be a healer and was beginning her studies with Mahwissa’s cousin, Nizhevoss. (Women were often healers, but they usually did not wander about like so many of the men did.) He also assured us that Mahwissa was well. He did not know about our relatives in Anahuac since he had not been there in a while. But he would soon be going there to pick up John and take him to another colleague of his.

Not surprisingly, we encountered each other the next morning heading to one of the sweat lodges along the river. We found an unused one and got the fire going. While the lodge was heating up, I went to get some pine boughs. He had brought along some cedar boughs. It was a good thing, I didn’t recall seeing any cedar around here. There was cypress, but not cedar. When I got back with my boughs, we went in and poured some water on the hot rocks.

“I’m glad you have adjusted to your loss,” he said. “It cannot have been easy for you.”

 

“No, it wasn’t,” I agreed. “I think it was almost as hard for Mathilde.”

 

“She has always been very close to you and feels your pain as though you were her child. In some ways, I suppose you were.”

“Well, Mother was rather caught up in her own thoughts.”
“I know. I was hoping you wouldn’t follow her example.”
“I can’t be sad when I think of Carlotta; she always made me happy.”

“She was quite a find. You managed to find your perfect complement. In that you took after both your parents—in their first marriages.”

 

“I often wondered why they married each other. I would think it would only make them miss their lost loves more.”

 

“It might have, although they had always been close friends, and the arrangement was satisfactory for them both.”

 

“I can’t imagine remarrying.”

 

“Don’t even think about it, then. If it comes along for any reason, don’t be afraid or ashamed of it. It can be a great comfort in its own way. At least, that’s what I’m told.”

“I don’t see it.”
“It’s not important.”
“Do you know why the Khakhan is building huge ships?” I decided to move quickly into another topic. “So, you noticed that while you were in Longjiang?”
“Why do you always know where I’ve been? You’re as bad as he is.”

“I’m much better than he is. I bet you were surprised to see him in Zheng He. I knew he was going there when he set sail from Longjiang.”

“When was he there?”
“About a week after you left.”
“What is he up to?”

“I must admit—I’m not sure. He seems to want a huge navy including warships. But we have no enemies with warships. I don’t think he plans to invade the old land because the majority of the ships, including all the large ones, are being built on the east coast. He might be planning to invade our ancestral home, but I would think he would first reconnoiter, and I know he hasn’t. My best guess is that he thinks he will have to invade one of the Khanates and wants to be ready to invade in force from the sea. Of course, it will take him quite a while to train crews for those ships even after he gets them all built. He has kept his plans very close to the vest. No one I know has any solid intelligence on his intentions. How do you like his mute ‘chamberlain?’ Isn’t that predictable.”

“I just hope he was born mute.”

 

“He was. The Khakhan is not a monster. Except for his suspicious nature, he is one of the better ones we’ve had.”

 

“I was thinking the same thing myself not long ago. What is Juchi like? I’ve already seen Toragana.”

“Toragana is one of those remarkable men who seemed to have been born without a heart. I hope he goes on campaign and manages to get killed. Juchi is an odd sort. He is a little reckless, but seems to be very goodhearted. With a little maturity, he may be all right.”

“What about Berke?”
“He is a dreamer. I think he is too much like his namesake. He lives alone in the mountains in the west. He’s probably more like our cousin ‘Enri by now.”

“Did he ever marry?”

 

“No. I think his father has written him off completely. I know that no one is allowed to mention his name to him. At least two members of the Kashik changed their names to avoid offending him.”

 

“Why does he keep following me around? And what task do you suppose he wants me to do for him next spring?”

“He follows you so he can find me. I have no idea what he wants you to do for him. Did you agree?” “I told him that as long as it wasn’t immoral, I would be happy to serve.”
“That must have kept you firmly on his wrong side.”
“He did not appreciate the limits I placed, but he assured me it would not be a problem.”
“I think he likes the fact that you are so honest with him. I think he may even respect you.”

“I don’t know about that. It is odd that he keeps bringing me in to talk to him. He again suggested that I go on campaign in the Green Mist. He even promised me a tumen command. I wonder why he gives me any thought at all.”

“Well as I told you, he follows you to catch up with me since I always elude his spies. But he talks to you because he likes you and respects you.”

 

“Hmm. Why does he follow you?”

 

“He has a suspicious nature. He doesn’t trust anyone who moves around as much as I do and eludes his spies with such ease.”

“Be careful of him. He acts on his suspicions.”
“From me he gets only more questions, no answers. As long as I keep him off guard, I have nothing to fear.”

“I’m not sure his suspicions aren’t justified. You’ve always given me the impression that you are much more than you appear to be.”

“How flattering! Nevertheless, I am what I appear to be.”
“You don’t really expect me to believe that, do you?”
“It is the truth.”
“Why do you elude his agents if you have nothing to hide?”

“I don’t like anyone nosing into my business. My patients and colleagues should not be subjected to the inquiries of his pathetic minions.”

 

“They aren’t that pathetic. I never notice them. What do you look for?”

 

“It is better that you do not elude them. It is one of the reasons he probably likes and respects you. He thinks you are completely without guile. He’s right about that, you know.”

 

“I’m a fairly decent hunter and tracker.”

“It’s not the same thing. His agents look like they belong where you see them because most of them do. He simply hires people already in place to report to him on certain people. You, of course, are very easy to spot because of your light complexion and military bearing. Remember how much trouble Hiacoomes had trying to help you blend into invisibility? All the Khakhan’s agents know to look out for you and report seeing you. I would guess about half of all yam managers were his agents—especially those near the larger towns and, of course, the ports. They are perfect agents. No one marks them as strangers or suspicious.”

“I should have learned that lesson from my experience with that miscreant Aztahua.”
“Well, you stepped into that one with both feet. We were both lucky that I was able to help you get your neck out of that one.”

“I am convinced that an essential part of being that age is complete stupidity. I was such a fool.”

“There were elements of foolishness in your sentiments, but on the whole you were simply looking at the situation with your customary honesty and innocence. When one lives under an absolute monarch, one needs to be subtle and cynical if one wishes to survive.”

“I think I’ve just been damned with faint praise.”

“No, Karl. I have tremendous respect for you myself. I feel you are a breath of fresh air. You are always so honest and direct I don’t need to conspire to get the truth out of you. There aren’t many people like that anymore.”

“Except among the more primitive tribes.”
“You must not have had much exposure to primitive tribes.”
“Perhaps I should be more devious.”

“No. Stay as you are. You and Mathilde are the two most wonderful people that I know. I’d hate to see anything change you.”

 

“Speaking of Mathilde, is she all right?”

 

“She is a little rundown. The little one is a handful and she’s a very conscientious mother who’s no longer very young.”

“Carlotta wants me to get John in the spring. She wants me to raise him until he is old enough to go back to the Ani’ Yun’-wiya as you and I both did. But, he will only be a year old. What should I do with him? I thought of bringing him here to Mathilde, but that would be much too hard on her. I understand little boys are worse than little girls are.”

“Don’t get him until you have finished with the Khakhan. I would suggest that you also leave that bird of yours behind, but I wouldn’t wish him on Ghigooie. Once you’re done with the Khakhan, go pick the boy up, and take him out west to visit relatives. It will keep you busy and they’ll all enjoy putting up with him for a while. Just don’t stay anywhere longer than a month or so. By the time you’re finished seeing them all, he’ll be old enough to enjoy.”

“I don’t think we have that many relatives.”
“Of course, we do. I can give you an itinerary if you like. I know where they all are.”
“I probably should get that from you. I don’t think I know where half of them are.”
“Done. You’ll have it before I go. I’ll even send you any necessary updates next spring.”
“We better get out of here before we start melting.”

We got out and jumped into the Ishak. It was cold, but not as cold as I expected. We climbed back to the plain, dried off, dressed, and returned to Mathilde and Aspenquid’s tent. I picked up little Carlotta and took care of her while Theodore put together a tonic for Mathilde. When he finished he sent her off to take a sweat bath and together we played with the little one and chatted. He gave me many much-needed bits of advice on taking care of little children. It was a good deal more complicated than I had thought. Little Carlotta was indeed a handful. She ran everywhere, tripped over everything, got into everything, knocked over everything, and broke a lot of things. I think she could easily have put one of the mischievous little bears (raccoons) called kvtli in Ani’ Yun’wiya or mapachin in Nahual to shame.

Theodore stayed with us about a month and between us we kept the little one busy until she needed a meal. That was about all we let Mathilde do. As a result she looked more her old self by the time he left. Even after Theodore left, I continued to watch the girl and we grew quite fond of each other. By the middle of the winter, Mathilde had so much energy that she was helping others with their children and shooing me away to go fishing or hunting with Aspenquid when he was off duty. He was particularly grateful for my help with the child. He admitted to me that he had been worried about Mathilde’s health before Theodore and I came.

Before he left, Theodore had given me the list he promised, and I had to admit I did have a lot of relatives, and they were scattered across the Khanate. I decided not to write any of them. I would just go to their homes and stay as long as the situation permitted. Late in the winter, Sarah returned and immediately insisted on taking over Carlotta. She was only partially successful, however. The little girl was used to me and very headstrong about getting her way. I wondered from where she got that. Mathilde and Aspenquid never struck me as headstrong. Just as I was finally getting ready to leave, Paula arrived with her two young children. The new baby was a girl. I stayed a few extra days to get reacquainted with my niece and her children. She was a lovely girl, reminding me very much of her mother. The children were still very young, but both seemed much more calm than little Carlotta.

Finally, I took my leave, taking care to make the biggest fuss over little Carlotta. I assumed if the Khakhan needed me, I would hear from him on the way to or when I arrived at Itsati. The trip was uneventful until I reached the Missi Sipi River. It was flooded and the pontoon bridge was still not in place. The local Taunika had set up a transport service that was doing quite well. There was some danger involved because all sorts of things were floating down the river and could knock over a boat if the boatman was not very watchful. It would have been even harder on the horses if they had to swim across the wide river behind the boat, but instead there was a brisk horse exchange in progress on both sides of the river. Of course, one would end up some distance down the river on the far side, but a wagon would then haul the boat, boatman and passengers back to the main road. I asked, and, indeed, the bridge was usually in place by now, but every so many years there was really high water in the spring and the Taunika, among others, made a killing.

Eventually I got to the far side and continued on my way, arriving at Itsati in early spring. It was not easy returning there at this time; everything reminded me of my missing wife. John was in fine shape, crawling around everywhere, but not really getting into things. He would look at everything, but would not touch it. I thought that odd, but something of a relief. It was hard to say which of us he more closely resembled. He had blue eyes and his complexion was as fair as mine. He had the blond hair I had at his age. He had a sweet smile that reminded me of his mother, and he was very quiet like she had been also. Seeing him reminded me how much she would have been thrilled with him. I felt I should spend as much time with him as I could. He particularly liked Cuauhtzin and giggled whenever he saw him. Much to my surprise, Cuauhtzin seemed to like him and made little cooing sounds to him, rather than the usual Otomi insults. He even would help me watch over him, landing gently on his back if he thought he was too close to the river. Whenever he did that, John would stop and giggle and make bird sounds.

The boy took to me almost instinctively. He loved having me hold him with Cuauhtzin on my shoulder. He would look up and smile at each of us in turn and melt our hearts. He would only reluctantly go back to his wet nurse. I would only leave him to hunt and was surprised to find that Cuauhtzin preferred staying with him while I was hunting, so I didn’t have to sneak out early anymore. I began to dread the idea of leaving him for whatever the Khakhan wanted. I rather hoped he would get on without me. Unfortunately, it was not to be. After only about a week, a dispatch rider arrived and presented me a letter with the Khakhan’s seal.

I was to leave at once and report to Longjiang. There I would present myself to Hadebah, who would give me further instructions. With a heavy heart, I spent as much time as I could with John that day and then turned him over to Suyeta again. He looked at me with a wide-eyed innocent look when I bid him good-bye; then he reached up to Cuauhtzin and the latter flew over and landed on Suyeta’s shoulder, startling her considerably. I tried to retrieve him, but he would not come to me. Suyeta asked if she could keep him also while I was away since the boy loved him so much. I reminded her of what that entailed, but she was insistent, and he was not inclined to rejoin me. Also, John seemed so happy to have him with him. I wondered if Cuauhtzin was repaying me for all the times I left him behind with Tetl, but I suppose he really wasn’t that human.

It seemed strange the next morning riding off without Cuauhtzin firmly attached to my shoulder. Before I had gone far, I found I missed him and John almost more than I could bear. The trip took about three weeks at the usual pace. Of course, a dispatch rider could have made it in a week or less. I reported to Hadebah who greeted me warmly and handed me another sealed envelope. He volunteered that he had no idea what was in it. I opened it to find orders to embark on the ship in the Longjiang harbor that was flying a white pennant. That was all it said. I told Hadebah and he just shrugged and we rode into the harbor. I noticed that the first huge ship was gone and the second one was afloat in a wet dock while the rigging and sails were being installed. A third was already under construction. There were about twenty ships in the harbor, but only one was flying a white pennant. I thanked Hadebah and got myself rowed out to the ship.

The ship looked like one of the ones Chen Huan had called a fuchuan. A mixed crew manned it, but all were wearing green uniforms. There was one exception, a Kashik. He was peering intently at the boat as we approached, and threw down the rope when we pulled alongside. I climbed up the rope and onto the deck. He took a look at me, then beckoned me to follow him. We went to the main cabin and entered a hallway with several doors on either side and one at the end. We went to the one just left of the one at the end. He knocked once, then opened the door, ushered me in and left.

“You took your time getting here,” another Kashik who was wearing the sash of a minghan commander growled.

“I wasn’t aware that it was an emergency,” I replied evenly.
“I am Wawnoshe. I have orders to take you to Zheng He.”
“And then?”
“I have no idea.”
“I see. Where shall I stay?”

“You are to have the cabin next to mine. You may, of course, wander about the ship as you wish as long as you do not interfere with the crew. That is all.”

 

“Thank you.”

With that I turned and left the room and tried the door of the cabin next to his (farther back up the hall). It was open and not occupied. It was not large, but there was room for a bed, a table and chair, a washbasin, and a storage bin. There was a small window above the table on one side of the room. I noticed that we set sail almost at the moment I set my pack down. I went out on deck and watched the port recede. Once we cleared the harbor, we turned east into the Great Bay. I looked over the ship. The men in green were the crew of the ship. There were over two hundred of them and they were a mixture of tribes that lived along the east coast. I could see northeast bands, Leni lenape, Great Bay and Sound tribes, coastal Iyehyeh, Cusabo and Timacua. There were even a couple of Mingue. The captain and the officers were all Choson, however. Other than Wawnoshe, there were ten Kashik on board also. I was fairly sure they were his escort, not mine.

The ship was fairly large, but much swifter than the cargo ships on which I was used to sailing. There were emplacements for cannon, but none were aboard yet. I assumed that this crew was still in training. There were no other passengers on the ship besides me. The second deck had storerooms, but they only had provisions in them. The third deck had the crew’s quarters and the kitchen. I chatted with some of them when they were off duty. They all seemed to enjoy the adventure of being on the open sea in the large ships and had the greatest respect for their Choson officers. The latter were a little aloof and only chatted among themselves in their language when they were off duty. The Kashik were also rather aloof and kept to themselves. Within four days, we were pulling up to the pier in Zheng He.

As soon as we arrived, Wawnoshe and his contingent debarked and marched over to another ship just like this one. I waited patiently on the deck for a while, and then I walked down to the pier and started walking toward the town. About halfway down the pier another contingent of Kashik marched by me, but didn’t bother me. When I reached the end of the pier, I looked around to see how the construction was coming. There were now four long piers in place, each having a number of ships tied to them, and the dry docks were all built, and ships were under construction in them. I wandered over to the dry docks to watch the work. I had just found myself a nice spot when a short almost wraithlike fellow approached me. He was likely only middle-aged, but he looked ancient and cadaverous, he was so thin. He was dressed in nondescript clothes and looked like might be from one of those tribes in the far western desert.

“Are you the Crow, son of John of Anahuac?” he asked me.
“Yes, I am,” I replied looking him over.
“I have a message for you.” He handed me a sealed note, turned, and scuttled away.

I looked after him a moment, then opened the note. I didn’t recognize the seal on the note. Inside was an order to ride to the new port of Yangzi and report to the commander of the jagun stationed just north of the port. It included directions to the new port. It looked like it was on the coast west of the peninsula of the Nausets. That seemed a little far north for a port, but perhaps the winters weren’t quite so bad along the coast. I walked toward the yam north of town only to discover a horse yard just beyond the town. I secured two horses there and started riding north. As I passed the yam, I noticed that it was deserted and beginning to fall into ruin. When I reached the end of the north road, where it joined the road heading east and west, there was a new yam there. I stopped for the night. Some six days later, I arrived at the same yam from which I had turned to go to Capawake.

“You again.” The keeper recognized me. “Are you going back to Capawake again?”
“No, I am not,” I replied, volunteering nothing else after what Theodore told me about yam keepers.

The keeper did not pry, making me wonder if I had misjudged him. In the morning I continued on the road as it swung sharply north. At midmorning on the following day, the forest suddenly opened up and before me was spread a small town and port in the midst of being built. I couldn’t help notice that one of the huge ships was in the harbor, but anchored well out from the new pier. Smaller ships were tied up at the one pier. Another pier was under construction, but it didn’t look like there would be any shipbuilding here; I saw no sign of dry docks. I rode through the busy streets and north of the port came upon the encampment of the jagun. I inquired after the commander and was directed to a tent in the front row as usual. The commander took one look at me and wordlessly handed me a note.

The note told me to ride north of town until I was contacted. This was getting ridiculous. It would be summer in a few weeks and I was wandering from note to note of instructions. I was beginning to think the Khakhan had lost his mind. I had given my word, however, so I remounted and continued riding north—actually the road ran a little east of north. At the end of the day I came to a yam. It was not very large, or much used from the look of it. The keeper was a Hotcangara automatically convincing me he was one of the Khakhan’s agents. I fully expected him to be my contact, but he wasn’t. In fact, he barely said a word, the surly wretch.

The following day I continued north. The road had gotten a little narrower, but it continued onward. Smaller paths and trails joined it from the west generally, although occasionally one would lead off to the east, no doubt leading to a small coastal village. Each evening I would find another yam, although they kept getting smaller and meaner. On the fourth day I came to a fork in the road. To the right was the larger coastal road and to the left was the smaller north road. I assumed I was to take the latter. I reached a very small and apparently rarely visited yam that evening. I wondered how soon the yams would give out entirely. Actually, I hadn’t thought there would be any away from the coast. On the evening of the seventh day, there was no yam, just an empty wooden shack with a small adjacent coral, also empty. I supposed one was expected to do for oneself here. There were firewood and utensils for cooking, but no food. There was a shed that had hay for the horses, however. Since there was plenty of grass in the corral, I didn’t bother with it.

I rose early the next morning and fixed myself some breakfast. I was beginning to wonder if I had missed the person I was supposed to meet. I suspected that if I had, he would have found out at the yams through which I had passed and would be coming after me. So I decided to continue north. At any rate, I was curious to find what the next “yam” would look like. Late in the day I came upon a man with his back toward me camping in a small clearing on the side of the road. I wondered if this clearing was the local yam. I decided to ask the man if there was a yam farther along the road. He stood up and turned around as I rode up and dismounted. He was tall, but did not dress like one of the local northeast bands. He looked something like them, making me think perhaps he was Leni lenape, but he didn’t look exactly like one of them either. I decided he must be Kensistenoug or Anishinabe.

“Finally you have arrived,” he greeted me.
“You are the one I am to meet?” I asked.
“Yes. I am Kineu. I am to take you on from here.”
“An Anishinabe! I didn’t know any of you were into intrigue.”
“Do you think we are a simple people?”
“Not at all. After all the great Odinigun was one of yours.”
“Well, I am not related to him. My mother was Dzitsiista if that helps establish my devious credentials.”

“I don’t mean to criticize. It is just that I have been following notes all the way from Itsati and the whole business borders on farce.”

“Indeed!” he said chuckling. “Our Khakhan does have a flair for overdoing his precautions.” “Do you have any idea what he wants with me?”

“I’m sorry to report, I do not.” He shook his head with an ironic smile. “I only know that I am to take you along a small difficult path to the next location where your next guide will take over.”

“Will I get to my final destination before winter?”
“Since we are heading northwest, I would think so. By winter we would be among the Inuit.” “So how far will you be taking me?”

“It should take about five days to get you there. We will have to ride as though we had a road even though we will only have a path.”

I was not too pleased with this information. Of course, it was hardly Kineu’s fault. We had dinner together and I asked him about his work for the Khakhan. He said that he was mostly a tracker. He was rather puzzled by this assignment and had no idea where I was going. Normally he would hunt down fugitives from the Khakhan’s justice, but he had been summoned in the spring and told to familiarize himself with the path on which he would be guiding me. Once he was comfortable with its nuances, he was told to wait for me here at the terminus of the trail. I asked if there were any more yams north along the road, but he told me there were not. If another were built it would be farther along, anyway. I asked whom he had been tracking recently, but I didn’t recognize any of the names. He would return with them or their heads as the events unfolded, but he would always return successfully. He supposed that either the Khan wanted him to become familiar with this area, or he had nothing better for him to do. I sincerely hoped he would not one day be looking for me.

In the morning we had a light breakfast and rode northwest. To call our path a trail would be too generous. It was little more than a trace. Once we were into the deep woods, I have no idea how he knew where he was going. He maintained a very steady pace, necessitating frequent ducking to avoid low branches, and we only stopped in the evening, as it got dark. All we ate was dried meat and centli meal seasoned with whatever we had, chili in my case and salt in his. We occasionally came upon a hunting party of the local band, called Abenaki, but did not stop to speak to them. Late on the third day, I noticed we were riding along the north bank of a river. We continued along the river for two more days reaching the end of the river late on the fifth day. It ended by joining a larger river, which I thought must be the Wendat River. Kineu confirmed that it was and also told me that this was as far as he would be taking me. Someone else would meet us the next morning. We made camp and I noticed he made certain the fire would give off a lot of white smoke and proceeded to shape the smoke by interrupting its normal path with a blanket. He explained that this was a means of communicating among the local people here. He added that they were related to the Kensistenoug, but called themselves Ne-enoilno.
The next morning we were just finishing up breakfast when a small boat pulled up to the bank of the Wendat in front of us. The river was tidal here and a lone boatman had come upriver with the tide. The man was obviously a local who did not speak much Mongol. Using hand signals he indicated that I was to go with him as soon as the tide began to go out. Kineu wished me well and got the local to take him across the small river we had followed northwest. He did so, but then had to paddle hard to get back over to my side again. We waited in silence until midafternoon when he deemed the tide sufficiently reversed and ushered me aboard. I noticed his boat was made of a frame of sticks covered with birch bark. It looked rather flimsier that the dugout boats of the south, but it seemed to hold us well enough. He would not let me help paddle, but expertly handled the maneuvering by himself. Before long we were putting into the south coast of a large island in the middle of the Wendat.

Once ashore he motioned me to a small path and then put back into the river, rowed for the north shore, and continued downstream. I walked along the path through a mostly beech forest with a few maples here and there. I finally came to a small camp. Here I found sitting before a fire a lone man who looked up balefully at my approach. He was a large man, not just tall, but broad, not fat, but muscular. He did not change expression as he looked me over, but he finally drew himself up to stand about half a head taller than me. He was dressed like a Mongol, but did not look enough like any particular tribe, so I imagined him to be a rather thorough mixture.

“You must be the long-awaited Crow,” he muttered lugubriously.
“Yes. I suppose, like everyone else along this bizarre path, you have been waiting for me a long time.” “No, just two days.”
“Well, where do we go from here?”
“Nowhere. We spend the night. Tomorrow I’ll take you to the Khakhan.”
“He’s here? Way up here?”
“He should be, tomorrow. He’ll tell you what he wants you to do.”
“Do you have any idea?”
“No.”

The next day my loquacious guide led me along the path for some distance. Finally, around midafternoon we came out of the woods to the southern shore of the island near its eastern end. There in a barely adequate bay was a ship looking much like the one on which I had last encountered the Khakhan. We went down to the shore where a small boat was waiting. In the boat were two of the men in the green uniform of the navy. They beckoned me aboard and rowed me out to the ship. I climbed aboard the ship, and as I was being led to the main cabin, I noticed that there were some small islands just east of our position and on the nearest one there was some sort of a palisaded town. I had not seen any such towns in this area so my attention was drawn to it. But I quickly dismissed it since I was most curious about what the Khakhan wanted with me in this remote place.

38
The Eskualdunac, 107 K
(St. Laurence River to Newfoundland, 1475)

There was no anxious crowd waiting in the large anteroom this time. In fact, there was only a handful of Kashik looking at me with suitable suspicion. Not standing on ceremony, my guide opened the door to the hallway and pointed to the door at the far end. He then closed the door behind me as soon as I passed through it. I walked to the far door, opened it, and found myself again in the traveling throne room. Before long the mute chamberlain came up and led me to the same side room again. I sat down and looked out the window. It looked out on the large island from which I had just come. I could see that the large man who had guided me to the boat had made a camp on the shore. I assumed he was waiting further instructions.

I had not waited very long before the Khakhan opened the door, waved me back into my seat, and sat down across from me. He still had that intense almost haunted look as he eyed me carefully. He was dressed in unadorned but fine quality cotton clothes. It occurred to me that except for his intensity he might pass for a merchant. When he was finished studying me, or whatever he was doing, he sat back a little.

“Do you have any idea why you’re here?” he asked.
“None at all, sire,” I replied.
“Good. Then even your brother doesn’t know. I understand you were wondering why I wanted a fleet.” “Well, it seemed rather curious, since we have no sea-borne enemies.”
“Not yet. But we may. You are aware of the fishing incursions of your fellow Ferengi, I presume?”

“Yes. Once in a while a few of them are shipwrecked. My wife’s two grandfathers were survivors of such a shipwreck.”

“Good, that could be helpful. In any case, it occurred to me that it was not wise to have strangers plying the seas off our coasts. They should either pay for the privilege of fishing if that is all they are doing, or they should be executed for spying if that is what they are doing.”

“From all I’ve heard, they are nothing more than simple fishermen.”

“It is best to be certain of such things. I came upon an old book describing the experiences of your illustrious grandfather. In it was a prophecy by a Pansfalaya mystic warning of a ‘great evil’ from across the Eastern Sea. It occurred to me that perhaps your distant relatives were planning to invade us. From our Mongol histories, they were easy to defeat when we invaded their homeland, but one can never assume they have not learned a few tricks since that time. After all, we have learned a few tricks.”

“I do remember that prophecy. As I recall, the council was rather puzzled by it at the time.”

“Indeed. I do not like to be puzzled, however. Therefore, I have had one of the ships intercepted and the crew captured and brought here. Their ship did, indeed, appear to be merely an adequate fishing vessel, although it is carrying a cargo of salt. We towed it to a secret port to check it out more carefully. As I expected, the crew is a problem. Their gibberish is completely incomprehensible. I thought perhaps you could communicate with them and ascertain whether they are what they claim to be, and what they planned to do with all the salt.”

“I will be happy to try, sire. I do know an old language my family has always called ‘the written language.’ If any of them can write, perhaps I can communicate with them.”

 

“Excellent. Do your best; their lives depend on you. See if you can find out where they are from and what sort of place it is. I need to know if I have any reason to worry about them.”

“I must admit, I am curious about them myself. I wonder if they might know of my wife’s grandfathers.” “Any information you can give me about them will be helpful. Do your best.”
“I will, sire.”

“Excellent,” he said as he rose up. “But I should warn you, they are a foul-smelling lot. They don’t seem much inclined to bathe. You may want to talk to them in the open.”

“They don’t bathe!” I wrinkled my nose in disgust. “Where are they?”
“They are being held in the enclosure on that small island. You will be taken there at once. Follow me.”

We left the room and I followed him down the hall to the anteroom. There he ordered one of the Kashik guards to get me over to the smaller island. He saluted and led me out the door back on deck. He told one of the Choson officers of the Khakhan’s wishes and the latter led me to the side of the ship where the small boat that had brought me was still waiting. The crewmen climbed down quickly and I followed them. They rowed me around the ship and over to the small island. Once I was ashore, they pushed off and returned to the ship. I approached the enclosure and found the door. It opened as I reached it. Inside was a jagun of Kashik all looking as stern as usual. I wondered what effect they had on the poor captives.
The jagun commander introduced himself as Sayga nea (another Hotcangara). He showed me around the enclosure. There were barracks for the Kashik around the periphery, and inside was a large house patterned after the Mingue long house. Outside of the house was a small area in the open with a cooking fire. Lounging around the house were groups of unimpressive-looking, meanly dressed men with fair, although reddish complexions and hair and beards of shades from black to medium brown. They ranged in age from young to old and in build from emaciated to portly. All were of medium to small stature, the tallest half a head shorter than I. I looked them over for a while from a safe distance. They did not seem to take any special notice of me, although I was the only one not dressed in black. Finally I approached them. The sour smell emanating from them gagged me and I had to immediately retreat again. I assayed the wind and approached again keeping them downwind. They began to eye me curiously, and a bit apprehensively as I drew near.

“Hail, men of the sea,” I greeted them in the old language.

They looked at me in shock and started talking to each other rapidly. The language was very strange to me although I almost felt I could understand a word or two. I repeated my greeting and one of them said something like “ladeen” and called into the long house for someone with a name that turned out to be Luis. This proved to be a young man of small stature and slight build with black hair and the slightest beginnings of a beard. He came out and exchanged excited words with the man who called him. Then he cautiously approached me and greeted me in the old language. I just recognized it, however, because his pronunciation was rather different than what I had learned. He said “salve” instead of “zalwe” as I would pronounce it. It looked like Hiacoomes was quite right when he suggested that my family had lost the pronunciation of the language since we only wrote it. I tried writing the language and had much more success. Soon he was correcting my pronunciation and with much effort we were able to communicate slowly.

He told me that he was the only one of the men who could read and write Latin (as he called the old language). He had been studying to be a priest until the past year when he had been kicked out of the school for some misdeed. He then joined the crew of the ship we had captured. He could see that I was not like the rest of his jailers and asked if I had also been captured. I assured him that I had been born here, but mentioned that my wife’s grandfathers were from a place called Sanjandeluz. He said that it sounded like Saint Jean de Luz, a port in the province of Lapurdi in the southwestern part of the Kingdom of Frantzia (France). He and his fellows were from the port city of Donostia in the province of Gipuzkua, just south of Lapurdi, but they were loosely affiliated with the Kingdom of Gaztela (Castille). He added that it was likely that my wife’s ancestors were Eskualdunac (Basque) like he and his fellows were. I asked if that was the name of his tribe and he said it was. I then wondered why his tribe was divided between two kingdoms. He replied that it had been united four hundred years ago, but they were small and isolated and, since they lived on both sides of a mountain range, were easily divided between their larger neighbors. It was fine with them, however, since they were autonomous and could vote down any edict of the king. There was an Eskualdunac kingdom, Naparoa (Navarre), but it was ruled by Juan of Aragon, and only consisted of the largest of the seven provinces.

This was getting confusing, so I asked what his ship was doing off our coast. He said that he and his fellow crewmen were just fishermen who were following in the wake of generations of fishermen who had exploited the rich fishing grounds off the east coast of our land. There had been warnings that they must never go ashore on the mainland, like they used to do in early times, because armed bands of horsemen had been seen patrolling the coast. Recently there had been reports that there were ships now also, but the profit from the fishing of makailo (cod), a large, bland fish popular with the northeast bands, outweighed the danger and they sailed anyway, much to their subsequent regret. He wondered what we were going to do with them. I assured him that if what he said were true they would likely be released. However, he would have to tell me about this Gaztela place from which he hailed and explain the salt cargo.

He said that the salt was for salting the fish—their preferred way of preserving it. I told him we dried or smoked fish and other meat. They also dried the fish, but first they salted it. It would keep much longer and taste much better. As to Gaztela, it was a kingdom on the peninsula that is at the western end of Europa, their name for the whole landmass. Their king, Enrique IV, died the previous year and now there was a struggle between his sister, Isabella, and his possibly illegitimate daughter, Juana, for the crown. The former was married to the heir of the kingdom of Aragon, Ferdinando. Once Ferdinando’s father died, they would probably unite the kingdoms and hold the entire peninsula except for Naparoa in the north, Portugal in the west, and the Moro (Moor) areas in the south. I asked if it was likely that the succession struggle would go on for a while. He thought it likely since Portugal favored Juana and they were almost as powerful as Aragon. I then asked what he thought the ultimate winner would try to conquer next. He was certain they would next turn their attention to the Moros since they were not Christians. I remembered that word since Grandfather had mentioned that we were sort of Christians. I asked him what Moros were and he said that they were followers of a vile creature who taught them to worship a false god and persecute the Christians. It was very important that they be driven out of Espainia (his name for his peninsula) as soon as possible. I then asked why Naparoa would remain independent if Aragon now ruled it. He said that Juan would likely will it to his younger son, since the elder would get Aragon. I wondered how they kept all this sorted out.

It certainly looked like there was no threat from these people in the foreseeable future, but I had to ask him why they didn’t bathe. He assured me that it was not practical when at sea and if they had a pot large enough to heat sufficient water they would gladly bathe. I replied we all usually bathed in cold water except sometimes in the winter. He assured me that such a practice was very unhealthy and we surely all died young. I told him that my grandfather bathed nearly every day and reached the age of ninety-five. He was shocked to hear this. I continued that the odor from him and his comrades was repulsive to us and we would be very grateful if they would bathe. He shook his head that it was too ingrained in them to eschew bathing in cold water at all hazards. I took my leave and told him I would report to the Khakhan that his people were no threat to us. He asked if it was possible that they might be released and I said I thought it was very likely, but I couldn’t promise anything. I would, however, keep them informed.

It was near dusk when I was rowed back to the ship. I was ushered right into the same room without any ceremony, and before long, the Khakhan joined me. I told him all I had learned about his prisoners. He questioned me closely until I was certain I had repeated every word of Luis at least twice. He then sat back and thought a while. Then he got up and told me to report back to him in the morning. The chamberlain would show me to my quarters. I followed him out of the room and waited for the chamberlain. He soon came and led me out the door into the hall, stopping at the last door on the left side before the anteroom door. I stepped into the room and found it furnished simply with bed, trunk, washbasin, table and chair as usual, but all the wood was highly polished. I had just sat down on my chair when there was a knock on the door and one of the sailors brought me my evening meal.

While I was eating, I thought about the men and wondered what life was like in their land. It had been so strange to be surrounded by so many people who looked like me, but were still so very different, speaking a strange language and having such reprehensible hygiene habits. I wondered if Grandfather’s Holy Roman Empire was still around and if the Black Forest still existed. I hoped I would be able to talk to Luis again.

I rose early the following morning and went out on deck to wait for the Khakhan’s summons. It was a pleasant morning, cool for summer, but only slightly so. The sky was clear, the air was pleasant smelling, and there was a light easterly wind. I looked toward the large island and noticed my guide was still camped on the shore. I turned to the small island and noticed that the jagun was up and smoke from cooking fires was rising from the compound. I had not been on deck long when one of the Kashik tapped me on the shoulder and beckoned me to follow him. As before I was pointed toward the door at the end of the hall, and once through it, ushered into the small room. I was surprised to find a light breakfast waiting for me there. I ate it quickly, not wishing to be eating when the Khakhan entered. As it turned out I needn’t have worried, it was some time before the door opened and a servant I hadn’t seen before came in and took away the remains of the meal. Shortly thereafter the Khakhan entered and sat down across from me.

“I think, from what you have told me, that we need have no concern about these fishermen. However, I need to know more about the people of their lands. What sort of government do they have? He mentioned a handful of kingdoms, are there many more? Is any one kingdom stronger than the others? How big are their armies? What sort of fleets do they have? Are they united or all rivals? In other words, I need to know all I can about them. Do you think you can get all this information from this person you were talking with yesterday?” “I can try. He seems to have some education, since he can read and write. But he mentioned he was studying to be a priest, so he may not have much practical information.”

“Don’t be so sure. In our experience, the priests are the most politically adept members of the tribes we encounter.”

“My grandfather was always leery of them.”
“With good reason. The only thing they serve is power.”
“I will see what I can find out.”
“Excellent. Also see how loyal he is to his king. Perhaps he would consider becoming our agent.” “Agent?” I wasn’t at all sure I heard him rightly.

“Indeed. He could be very useful if he is willing. But he must be willing. I don’t want to waste my time and resources being played for a fool.”

 

“It is a delicate matter to ask someone to betray his people.”

“I’m not interested in his betraying anyone,” he testily corrected me. “I want information about the place and ample warning of any aggression against us. Obviously, I couldn’t send any of our people, they would stick out prominently. Even you would hardly blend in with them in spite of your similarities. Besides, most kings are tyrants and hardly inspire loyalty.”

“I’ll see what he is willing to do.” I couldn’t believe that last comment.
“Good. Report back when you’re done. I’ll be waiting anxiously.”

I returned to the compound on the little island, and assaying the wind again, approached from the safest direction. As soon as the men caught sight of me they excitedly called Luis and all fixed me with expectant looks. Luis came scurrying up and asked if they would be allowed to go. I told him I thought so, but first he would have to answer some more questions. He jabbered to the others and their expectations faded to concern. Then he turned back to me. I told him that the Khakhan wanted to know more about his land.

“I don’t know how much I can help you.” He frowned. “My studies at the university were limited by my calling.”

“What is a university?” I interrupted him.
“It is an institution where teachers teach students various subjects.”
“What sort of subjects?”
“Well one can take subjects like law, medicine, arts, and theology.”
“Everyone studies such things?”

“Oh no. Usually one takes only one of those disciplines. Although some students do sit in on lectures in subjects other than their main one.”

“And you were studying theology?”
“No, actually I was studying law. I was to be a canon lawyer.”
“What does that mean?”
“An expert in canon law, the laws of the Church.”
“The Church has laws? What of your rulers?”

“The Church laws deal with things like morality, heresy, all the pronouncements of the councils and the popes. The rulers only defy such laws at their peril. The pope could excommunicate them and they could be hunted down and killed with impunity.”
“Your rulers allow priests to control them like that?”

“Well, the law of God takes precedence over the law of man, even if he is a king.”
“Amazing. Was it always so?”

“Yes, the Christian kings always had to yield to the head of the Christian Church. Anything else would be barbaric.”

“So all of the Christian kings are weaker than this pope you speak of?”
“Haven’t you heard of the pope? Aren’t you a Christian?”

“My grandfather did mention that we were Christians and I think I vaguely recall him mentioning a pope as a sort of ruler as were some people called bishops.”

“The pope does directly rule the Papal States, but only in the Holy Roman Empire do bishops rule states. Bishops are the pope’s representatives in dioceses. The Christian world is divided into dioceses and each one is led by a bishop.”

“So your kings have to deal with both popes and bishops?”
“Sometimes the bishops are very loyal to the kings and even mediate differences between them and the pope.” “How many kings are there?”
“Well, let me see. I would say there were about fifteen kings and of course one emperor.” “Is the emperor over all the kings?”

“No, he only rules the electors and dukes and bishops and such in the empire. It is mostly the lands of the Alemainiera (Germans).”

 

“So there is no unified empire of Europa?”

“There are four kingdoms and one emirate in Espainia alone. Kings shift alliances constantly and fight among themselves. Ingalaterra (England) and Frantzia have been fighting off and on for centuries. The Alemainia states of the Holy Roman Empire are constantly getting into spats and the cities in Italia are always fighting each other and the Papal States and the empire.”

“Do you feel any special loyalty to this Gaztela?”
“I am indifferent to it.”
“Would you consider becoming our agent, to report on developments in Europa?”
“Become a spy?”
“Not exactly, more like a representative. Letting us know if any of the kingdoms plan to invade us.” “They can’t invade you; they don’t know about you.”
“But you and your fellows know about us.”

“You don’t understand. This is our secret. Only we Eskualdunac know about this place. We would never tell anyone else about it. If we did, we would destroy our monopoly.”

 

“What monopoly?”

 

“We supply all the makailo to southern Europa. Our only competition fish in North Sea; they don’t know about this place.”

“So the king of Gaztela, your king, doesn’t know you come here?”
“Well, he might now that he is dead, but his sister and his daughter do not know.”
“That is very good to know. Might you know how large the armies of the various kings are?” “I don’t really know, but unless they are at war they only have a small standing army to protect them.” “What, perhaps ten thousand or so?”
“Possibly that many, but I doubt it. Armies are expensive and kings are cheap.”
“What can I tell the Khakhan about you becoming our agent?”
“If it means he will release my fellows, I will.”
“How long have you been here?”

“Here, at least a month. We were the first ship to reach the mouth of this river this spring and those huge ships of yours apprehended us almost at once. Our ship was taken to a small harbor near the mouth of the river and we were brought here.”

“I will go back to the Khakhan at once. I’m sure he will let you go.”
“Thank you so much for your help, sir.”

I returned once again to the ship and was quickly ushered into the usual room. It was a little after midday, but no one bothered to feed me this time. Soon the Khakhan joined me and I told him all I had learned. He listened intently as usual, and questioned me at length on some of the particulars. Finally he sat back satisfied.

“You have done well. The young man will stay with you and you will teach him Mongol. His fellows may fish as long as they want. When they are ready to return, the young man may go with them. He must then come back next spring to report. In return, his tribe may fish off our shores and even come ashore to dry or salt or whatever they do to their catch. Go back and tell him this, and if all are agreed, the crew will be returned to their ship immediately. I will send a fairly large pot with you so our new agent can clean himself up. It won’t do to have him gagging you since you must work closely with him.”

“Thank you, sire. That is most thoughtful of you.”

He waved me away and I returned to the boat, which delivered the large pot and me to the small island. I brought it with me into the compound. I told Sayga nea what the pot was for and he nodded grimly with some relief. I went up to the men and Luis immediately came forward. I gave him the pot and told him what the Khakhan had proposed. He spoke to the others and they were at first relieved, then seemed to have some misgivings. He explained to me that they were concerned for his safety. I assured him that his fellows need not be concerned; I would make certain he was with them when they were ready to go. He passed this on to them and then told them something, which seemed to reassure them. He later told me that he had told them that my wife’s grandfathers were Eskualdunac, so they could trust me. I let that pass and urged him to make use of the pot. I gave him some of my clothes to wear once he was clean. I went back to the ship again to report to the Khakhan.

This time he was on the deck and called down to me for their decision. I told him they had agreed and he ordered me to return and tell the men to get on the canoes that would soon come to the island. They would take them to their ship before dark. I returned and told Luis who in turn told the others. The Kashik guards opened the gate for them and they hesitantly walked through it toward the shore. Before long a swarm of canoes arrived, each manned by two men of one of the local tribes. Three of the men got on each one and were quickly propelled downriver and out of sight. Luis watched them till they disappeared, then returned to warming the water for his bath. Once he was cleaned up and dressed in my far-too-large clothes, we were rowed to the larger island where the big man was camped. He was roasting a haunch of deer and shared it with us. After dinner we camped with him on the shore.

The next morning the Khakhan’s ship was gone. Our stolid guide, whose name turned out to be Chaaygee (another Hotcangara name, although he didn’t look Hotcangara at all), suggested we move over to the nowabandoned compound on the small island. I agreed and we took up residence in the barracks. Chaaygee hunted and fished and prepared meals for us without any complaint or much comment of any other kind for that matter, while Luis and I concentrated on the task at hand.
I proposed to Luis that he would teach me his language while I taught him Mongol. He agreed, but warned me that only his people spoke his language, no one else in Europa even understood it. We talked about Europa. He explained that the western part consisted of his peninsula, Espainia, northeast of it across the mountain range where his people lived was Frantzia, east of it were the Alemainiera lands, the Kingdom of Ardangori (Burgundy), and the Holy Roman Empire, south of them was the peninsula of the Italianiera with the city states in the north, the Papal States in the middle, and the Kingdom of Napoles (which belongs to Aragon) in the south. East of this were the kingdoms of Poloinia (Poland), Bohemia, Hungaria (Hungary), Lituainia (Lithuania), and the various Rusiera (Russian) states. South of these was the Ottoman Empire, and north of them were the kingdoms of the Escandinaviera (Scandinavia). North of Frantzia is the island with Kingdoms of Ingalaterra in the south and Ezkozia (Scotland) in the north. West of this island is the island of Irlanda (Ireland) and far west of it is the island of Islanda (Iceland). The last island isn’t too far from our east coast, but Luis’ people avoid it since they are fishing competitors of theirs.

Luis had a lot of difficulty learning the Uighur script. He found it very alien. I used the Latin script for learning his language. Although he insisted it was not at all like Latin, he had to admit they didn’t have a script of their own. I did see some similarities in words, but they were probably imported words like we have done with centli, nawak’osis and so on. But even if I had less trouble than he, we both made progress. By late summer he was speaking fairly decent Mongol and he assured me I was speaking tolerable Euskera. By early fall his writing of the Uighur script was almost decipherable. He promised to continue working on it back home this winter.

At length, Luis felt that it was time to get him back to his ship, so Chaaygee took the boat downstream to the secret port for instructions. He returned with the tide the next morning and told us that a ship would be waiting for us at the port this evening. Once the tide reversed, we followed the river down to the port. It was on the north side of the river and was screened by a good-sized island on its side of the shore. In the small harbor was one of the fuchuan ships. We put into the small town, which turned out to be a barracks with a stockade around it. It was again manned by Kashik, about a jagun from the look of it. It turned out to be the same one that had been guarding the prisoners. Sayga nea was still in charge. He informed me with a barely disguised smirk that the place was called Khereekhot. While that means Crow Town in Mongol, I was not about to presume it was named for me and just affected mild interest. We were told to go aboard the ship right away.

Chaaygee rowed us to the ship, then turned back to the town without bidding us farewell. I rather hoped he was not used on any diplomatic missions. As usual the ship was crewed by a mixed lot from the eastern tribes and officered by Choson. We had barely gotten aboard when the anchor was hauled up and we started moving downriver. Dusk soon caught up with us and we were shown to our rooms and given a meal. The next morning we were anchored off the eastern end of a large island in the mouth of the Wendat. There were dozens of the Eskualdunac ships in view. The captain of our ship asked Luis which one was the one with which we were supposed to rendezvous. He intently scanned the ships and asked the captain to get closer to the huge island to the east—the island of the Beothuk (Newfoundland)—and sail along its southern coast.

While this was being done we were served a meal on the deck so he could continue to look for his ship. We sailed along the southern end of the island. I could just make out quite a bit of activity on the shore. Luis told me that they were drying the salted makailo. I asked if they ever had any trouble with the Beothuk, but he said except for a little stealing, they tended to stay away. I told him that we had driven them inland long ago because they were so hostile, but had never settled the island ourselves. There were some villages of the mainland tribes on the island, but they were in the north and west. No one lived along the southern coast.

We went some distance along the coast of the island before Luis indicated a small island to the captain. It was at the mouth of a fair-sized bay formed by a large peninsula that jutted southwest from the island. There were some tiny islands nearby, but he guided us to the east end of the island, facing toward the bay. There was another camp with a small dwelling, many drying racks filled with fish, and a small group of men working near the shore. Luis called out to them and they waved enthusiastically. The captain ordered a boat lowered and we were rowed to shore. He told me not to tarry; he had orders to take me to Zheng He.

Once ashore Luis introduced me to his fellows and I asked them about their luck this summer. They complimented me on learning their language and assured me that catching makailo involved neither skill nor luck. One only had to lower a hook on a line and bring up the fish. There was no fight, but the fish could be heavy. Once the fish was aboard, it was split, cleaned, spined, and salted. Then they were brought ashore to dry. They told us that we had just gotten back in time; they expected to be finished and sail home in a few days. I wished them well, reminded Luis to work on his Mongol and to return to this place next year. I hoped to see him again. He promised to work on his Mongol. I got back on the boat and was quickly returned to the ship. Once we were aboard and the boat was secured, we pulled up anchor and headed south. Luis and his fellows waved from the shore.

We moved around the small island and headed for the straight between the tip of the peninsula and two islands, one long but narrow in the middle and the other small. Once past these, we lost sight of land for a while, before passing a long narrow island just before dusk the following day. About eight days later, we were pulling up to one of the piers in Zheng He.

39
Return to John, 107–8 K
(New York, NY to SW LA, 1475–6)

It was late morning when we arrived and I had barely debarked from the ship when I was met by a lone Kashik who ordered me to follow him with the usual presumption of complete unquestioning obedience. He led me to the Khakhan’s ship, which was tied up to the westernmost pier. Before long I found myself waiting in the now most familiar little room. I didn’t have long to wait this time. The Khakhan swept right into the room waved me back in my seat and sat down to study me as usual. Finally he spoke.

“Did the young man learn Mongol?”
“Yes. And I learned his language.”

“You did! Excellent. You have served me very well, and I will remember it. Now I want you to return here early next spring. Be here by the equinox. You can go to Longjiang or any convenient port and a ship will bring you here. I would also request that you not mention anything about your activities this summer.” He paused and looked off to the right for a moment. “On second thought, you may tell your brother, if you will do me a favor.”

“What is that, sire?”

 

“Find out what he already knows before you tell him and let me know by dispatch. I very much want to know if I have plugged the leaks in my staff.”

 

“Where will you be, sire?”

“I’ve just been waiting for you to get back. I will be going back to Khanbalikh tomorrow. You can send the dispatch there. You need not fear for your brother. I very much admire him and only want to know if, at last, I have slipped something by him. I wish he worked for me. I have tried to get him on my staff. Perhaps you can convince him to join me.”

“I will convey your wishes, sire.”

 

“Very well. Have a safe trip back. There is a ship tied to the second pier that is sailing to Longjiang tomorrow. Here is a gerege for you.”

 

“A gerege?” I asked as I studied the small gold plate inscribed in the Uighur script: This is my ambassador. Do as he asks. Khakhan Kujujuk.

“I’ve reintroduced them. The Hanjen called them p’ai-tse. Our ancestors used them in the times of the Yuan Dynasty. I think they were a little larger, but gold ones were the most important, then silver, then wood. They remove any doubt about the authority of those who serve me. I’m surprised none of my predecessors used them.”

“Well, I’m most honored to be given a gold one and to be called an ambassador. I would think my role would only merit a wooden one and my title more along the lines of servant.”
“No. I consider your mission of paramount importance to the Khanate and, therefore, the title and gold gerege are appropriate. I do not want to suffer the same fate as our Yuan Dynasty.”

“It was overthrown because they relegated the Hanjen to inferior status. Since they were the vast majority—that was unwise. I have never seen such behavior in the Khanate.”

“Of course not. But then, the native tribes of this land are divided into hundreds of tribes, not just one overwhelming tribe like the Han who swallowed up all the smaller tribes of the old land. Besides we had to conquer Hanjen and we didn’t exactly conquer this land.”

“That’s quite true for the most part here in the north, but in the other Khanates, it was definitely conquest.” “Well, you are right about that, I suppose, but I don’t think there is any simmering resentment against the Khakhanate because of it.”

“No. Most of the conquered tribes are quite accommodated to their role in the Khakhanate.” “Well, you are quite well acquainted with our history. Your grandfather’s books I presume?” “Yes. He wrote extensively on many topics.”
“A gifted man. Second only to the immortal Kaidu in my opinion.”
“I am honored that you think so, sire.”
“When you see your brother, tell him to visit me this winter. I need to talk to him.”
“I will, sire.”

He rose and left the room. I waited a moment, then followed out of the room, down the corridor and back on the deck. I left the ship and went into the town. I sought out the harbormaster and, presenting my gerege, asked him which ship was sailing for Longjiang the next day. He scrambled to check his records and called his assistant to lead me to the ship in question, bowing deeply as I left. The assistant was afraid to talk to me, but just led me with excessive bowing and hand gestures to the ship. It was, indeed, tied up to the second pier just as the Khakhan had said. The assistant bowed me aboard as I thanked him for his help. Once aboard I asked for the captain. I was taken to an enigmatic Choson who eyed me with studied disinterest until I presented my gerege. He bowed low and asked how he could serve me. I simply told him I needed to go to Longjiang and I understood that he would be sailing for that port the next day. He said he would leave at once if I wished, but I assured him there was no hurry, we could leave as scheduled. He bowed again and showed me to the large room in the rear of the ship. Obviously it was his room. I told him it was more than I needed, an unoccupied room would be quite acceptable. He bowed again and showed me to the fourth room on the right. It was small and neat. I thanked him and stowed my things.

I had just decided to go into the town again when there was a scratch at the door and an excessively bowing crewman brought me a light midday meal. I thanked him and sat down and ate the meal looking out the window onto the pier and the other ships. There was quite a bit of activity with cargoes being loaded on and off the nearby ships and carried into or from the town. When I finished, I left my room and went out on deck. I leaned against the rail and watched the activity for a while, then left the ship and walked down the pier into town. When I reached the town, I wandered around a bit. The dry docks were being used to repair ships rather than build them, it seemed. Perhaps the Khakhan had enough ships. One of the huge ships was in dry dock being outfitted with copper plating on its bottom. It was quite a tedious job from the look of it.

I wandered along the other piers and noticed they were almost full. We had become quite the maritime nation. Late in the afternoon, the tide began to go out and a number of the ships began to move away from their piers. Among these was the Khakhan’s ship. I wondered why he was sailing to get to Khanbalikh. It would be quicker to go by land from here, I would think. While I was in the town, I bought a few gifts for the relatives. Finally I returned to the ship and my room. I sat down and practiced writing Euskera for a while until my evening meal was brought in. I turned in early.
The next morning I awakened and distinctly detected motion. Looking out the window, I could see that we had indeed set sail in the night. I didn’t know they could do that. The passage to Longjiang took only three days with the favorable winds. No wonder the Khakhan wanted to go by sea. It probably was quicker. I was glad of the fast passage since all the deference from the crew was beginning to annoy me. I wondered what dire threat hung over anyone insufficiently honoring a bearer of a gerege. Anyway, once ashore I wandered over to the dry docks and noticed they were still building ships here. I decided to look up Hadebah in the camp south of the town. He greeted me warmly and invited me to stay the night with him. I showed him my gerege and told him about the excessive deference I was getting.

“It is not surprising.” He shrugged. “Word has it that a holder of a gold gerege has the power of life or death. One offends them at great peril. Most people in my position would escort you into town and dispossess the occupant of the grandest house there for your use.”

“I don’t think that’s what the Khakhan has in mind for bearers of these plaques. I think it is just so that we can get requested information to him quickly and get where he wants us to go without delay. I better tell him when I write what is going on.”

“There is an inherent fear of the Khakhan, because of his intensity and his complete power over us. If he sends someone in his place, the fear would logically devolve on that person. It is probably best for his purposes that it be so.”

“I’m not so sure. Fear leads to hatred. Hatred leads to rebellion.”
“Not always. In fact I have found that fear leads to paralysis.”
“In the weak perhaps, but the strong?”
“More people are weak than strong.”
“I suppose that is why we have tyrants.”
“Of course, you are speaking in general.”

“Of course. But you know the Khakhan himself told me that most kings were tyrants and hardly inspire loyalty.”

“He did?”
“Yes, in exactly those words.”
“Interesting.”
“Very.”
“He doesn’t see himself as a tyrant. I suppose he does not equate absolute power with tyranny.”

“He must view tyrants as those who rule arbitrarily. That would not apply to his rule at all. He has always been consistent and, in his own way, quite fair.”

“He is widely respected, but not revered like Kaidu, Juchi, or your grandfather.”
“He also told me he holds my grandfather second in esteem only to Kaidu.”
“In Anahuac, I suspect, he is honored above all. Here he is second to Kaidu or third behind Juchi.”

“Anahuac was conquered after Kaidu died, of course. My grandfather had the greatest admiration and respect for him as well as Juchi. After all, Juchi and he had quite an adventure together.”

 

“Ah, the famous first probe into this land. It is still celebrated in song and tale around the campfire. I suspect most of the tales are exaggerations, but even so it must have been quite an adventure.”

“Grandfather wrote about it in a special book for our family. The true story needed no embellishment. They both showed raw courage wandering into the unknown like that. But then they did it again once they got here— many times.”
“Tell me what your grandfather wrote about that first adventure.”

I told him the tale well into the night until we turned in. I very much enjoyed retelling it and he was completely captivated by it. We were both transported to another time and place reliving the wonder and excitement of that epic adventure. The next morning I picked up a couple of horses and rode south toward home. Hadebah still had that faraway look in his eye as I bid him farewell.

This was a fine time of year to travel. The weather was quite pleasant, no longer hot and not too cold, although after I turned west away from the coast, it was not long before the nights grew cold. It was about mid fall when I rode into Itsati. I rode right up to Iskagua and Ghigooie’s house. I had barely gotten off my horse when I heard the unmistakable shriek that could only be Cuauhtzin. Ghigooie came running out and hugged me warmly, then led me into the house. Cuauhtzin shrieked until he gained my shoulder, then let out a memorable, thoroughly obscene lecture in Otomi laced with a few words in Ani’ Yun’-wiya. John ran in from the other room and came right up to me and grabbed my leg. I lifted him up to look at him. He looked so much like Carlotta it broke my heart and tears came to my eyes. He looked at me very seriously.

“Agidodah [father] is hurt, Agilisi [grandmother],” he said to Ghigooie.
“No child,” she replied, “he is just so happy to see you and so proud that you can talk.”

“Yes.” I choked back the tears, “I am so proud of you, John, and I missed you so much.” Once I was in control again, I asked, “He has learned to walk and talk while I was away?”

“He began walking late in the spring. He began talking this summer.”
“He knows me!”
“Of course, he does!”
“Tell me all I missed.”

She brought me up to date while I sat down holding John in my arms, and of course, Cuauhtzin was on my shoulder. John had stopped nursing on his own early in the fall, telling Suyeta that he had to be ready to travel with his father when he returned. He often dreamt of his mother and she would tell him things. He would remember the dreams and tell Ghigooie in the morning. She would explain them as best she could. It was Carlotta who told him I was returning soon and it was time to stop nursing so he could go with me. Suddenly I was transported into a field full of flowers of intense colors on a too-bright day with a warm, gentle breeze and walking toward me as I stood in wonder was my Carlotta. She wrapped us both in her arms.

“Agi’tsi-i [Mother]!” John said.
“Carlotta!” I said.

Slowly the vision faded and we were back in the room with Ghigooie looking at us with some concern. I must have been smiling stupidly, for she soon was smiling also and patted both of us solicitously, and left us to enjoy our experience.

“Agi’tsi-i is so beautiful, Agidodah,” John whispered dreamily.
“Yes, she is, John,” I agreed. “She loves us as much as we love her.”
“She visits me at night when I am asleep.”
“She visits me when I shut out everything else. She has never come to me like this before.” “Me either. Wasn’t it wonderful?”
“Yes, it was.”

At length John dozed off in my arms and I carried him to his bed and went to take a sweat bath. Cuauhtzin remained by John’s bed on guard. When I had finished and washed off in the river, I returned to find Iskagua had come home. He also greeted me warmly and told me how bright John was. He also told me that he would make a fine shaman, since he had deep sight. I suggested it was a bit early to make that decision. “Normally you’d be right,” he said. “But this child is very different. He readily sees into the world the rest of us can only visit with difficulty. I think he sees both worlds equally. It could make life difficult for him. I knew of one other so gifted a person. He became so taken with the other world, he neglected his requirements in this one and died.”

“Don’t you think that will fade as he gets older?”
“Perhaps, but part of the problem is his mother.”
“How is she a problem?”

“She should move on and become one with the creator spirit, not stay around here in the dream world. I think she is the reason John is so attached to the other world.”

 

“She loves him and me. She told me that love is all that remains when we leave this world. How could she abandon those she loves?”

“It isn’t abandonment. When you become one with the creator spirit, you become love. She could only love you more, not less, but without being constantly involved with your lives in this world. I think it would be better for John and I know it would be better for her.”

“She is a mother. He is her son. She barely saw him before she died. Can you really think she could leave him so soon?”

 

“It has been a year and a half. I would hope she would see that he is well provided for and now he has his father with him again.”

“I appreciate your concern, Iskagua, but I would not deny her access to her child for as long as she wishes it. I would not deny her anything. She died to have this child. They are inexorably connected by a bond too strong for either of us to understand. I know she will do nothing to harm the boy, and when she feels it is time to go on, she will.”

“Perhaps you are right.”

We spoke no more of it and Ghigooie did not give me any of her unsettling looks indicating foreboding about my future, so we passed a pleasant few days, before I decided I had best move south for Cuauhtzin’s sake. Already the nights were quite cold in Itsati. I looked over the relatives’ list Theodore had given me the year before, but most of them lived in the north. I decided I would spend the winter with Mathilde and Aspenquid. I wanted to visit the falls where I had poured out Carlotta’s ashes, but I decided I had best stick to the yam trail since I had John and Cuauhtzin with me, and the nights could be cold out in the open. Before leaving I made a point to visit Suyeta and Gatagewi and give them some gifts I had bought in Zheng He and thank her for nursing John. She had tears streaming down her cheeks as she thanked me for giving her that honor. Even Gatagewi seemed to feel the same way. I decided not to explore that bit of strangeness any further.

We left early one morning. John was in a carrier tied in front against my chest and Cuauhtzin was on my shoulder. John would always look dreamy when I looked at him, but would quickly smile when he caught my eye. Otherwise, Cuauhtzin would make little cooing sounds to him and he would giggle and imitate them. There were two roads out of Itsati, one heading generally east and the other west. We took the west road. It followed the Itsati River downstream to the West Tsoyaha River. Here there was a fork leading north across the bridge over the Itsati at the town of Tunessee and up the West Tsoyaha to the town where there was a bridge across it, and the other led south down the West Tsoyaha. We took the latter. It swung west with the river and eventually we had to choose to continue along the river, which now turned north, continue west, or turn south into Pansfalaya land. We turned south again. I wanted to visit Nanih Waiya. It was almost the winter solstice when we arrived at the site. I left the horses at the yam and walked over to the hill. I found the spot at the base where Carlotta had leaned back and had her dream. I sat down in the same spot, leaned back, and closed my eyes.

Almost immediately we were in the too-bright field and there was Carlotta. After she embraced us, she whispered that this was a place for family and moved beside me. The field became bathed in a radiant white light and soon nothing else was visible. Then, out of the light, figures began to emerge and draw near. Soon I could distinguish them. All were in the full bloom of vibrant youth, smiling radiantly to see us. First were my parents. My mother was actually smiling and happy. Next there were Ignace and Goa, Sarah and Tepeyolotl, my grandfather and a beautiful woman he introduced as my grandmother, then a tall dark haired man another beautiful woman he introduced to me as my other grandparents. Behind them were their other children, then more ancestors. I looked on in shock at all these strange yet oddly familiar faces warmly greeting me and blessing John. Then another group approached and Carlotta introduced me to her ancestors. I never would have recognized the tall strong young man as Hiacoomes. Her parents and brother and sister were just as she had described them—her siblings were still children. Her grandfathers looked just like the Eskualdunac I had met that spring. They spoke to me in their tongue and I answered them. I met the woman for whom Carlotta had been named and she was almost as beautiful as her namesake. I met Hiacoomes’ stalwart ancestors, all tall, dignified, elegant people. Again each in turn blessed John. Then we stood there bathed in the radiant love of all these people who in some way were aware of and cared for us. Then they all disappeared back into the light and it faded into the field again and only Carlotta was there.

“Is that what you saw when you sat here?”

“Not all that, but some of it. They all told me they would be with me always and that they would be with you and my baby as well. They have been, also. They were all there when I had John and they helped me get back to you. Don’t worry about anything, dear; they and I will always be with you both. You will never be alone.”

“Iskagua thinks John should be a shaman. Do you?”

 

“He will know his path at the right time. Until then, it doesn’t really matter. Let him be a little boy. I’m so glad you’re taking him to meet Mathilde and her family. I love them as though they were my family.”

“They felt the same way about you. Your namesake is quite a handful. Nothing like you, I’m afraid.” “She is more like me than you think.”
“Well she did take to me right away.”
“Just like me.”
“Do you know about Iskagua’s concerns about you and John?”

“Yes. It is as it always has been. People can only see part of the next world. The whole is too much for them to comprehend, and there is no need for them to do so. He is a very good and wise man, but there is no need for you to worry about John or me. Being one of spirit is neither as simple nor as complicated as it sounds. Being one with Cautantowit or Deus, as you call him, does not mean I can no longer watch over you and John.”

“I’m so glad. I look forward to joining you.”
“Not for a while, my dear. You have a boy to raise and a few more adventures before you can join me.”

That is all I can remember of the vision. When next I was aware I was leaning against base of the hill and it was just barely twilight. John was looking up at me with the sweetest smile. He almost seemed to glow in the gathering darkness. I got up slowly and returned to the yam. I didn’t have much appetite, but John and Cuauhtzin seemed to be ravenous. The next morning I rose early and took John and Cuauhtzin up to the top of the hill with me. I burned a little nawak’osis and tried to commune with my spirit guide. He came quickly and reinforced Carlotta’s advice to me. He told me John would know what to do with himself after he made his vision quest. He soon urged me to return to my charges since they were both hungry. It was still early morning when I got back down the hill and got us breakfast. We set off right afterward, taking the road leading a little north of west toward the Missi Sipi River where one of the bridges crosses it.

We crossed the river on the long pontoon bridge. As usual, I was concerned that something might spook Cuauhtzin causing him to fall into the river, so I put him under my cloak next to John, and they made little noises to each other. Once across the broad river, I returned him to my shoulder, but they continued to communicate. We turned south toward the coast since it was already winter and I wanted to make sure it didn’t get too cold for Cuauhtzin. When we finally reached the Ishak River and turned north, it still wasn’t very cold. We quickly came upon the Pelican Ordu as they had moved still farther down the river. Since they were this far south, I was sure we could stay the whole winter with them. I asked the guard where Aspenquid’s tent was and he indicated the far left side of the camp, near the river. I soon found them. As usual Mathilde was busy in front of the tent, working on a hide this time, and little Carlotta was running around in circles. As I approached she looked up and ran up to me yelling “Uncle Crow.” Mathilde turned and seeing me also jumped up and ran toward me.

“Oh Karl,” she sighed as she gave me a very tight hug. “And this is my nephew, John.” She took him from me.

Little Carlotta demanded that I pick her up and I obliged. She reached for Cuauhtzin, but he eluded her and flew over to Mathilde’s shoulder startling her considerably. She was a bit nervous having that large beak so near to her face. But he just cooed to John and ignored her. We went into the tent and I set up Cuauhtzin’s stand next to me, but he only went to it once I had John back. Little Carlotta was much interested in John, but rather resented having to share me with him.

Mathilde brought me up to date on her family. Aspenquid was busy training recruits and would be back that evening. Aju had not returned from his wanderings yet, but he had written. He was with her brother Sealth when he wrote that summer, but had said he would be going north. She was a little concerned about him, but knew he could take care of himself. Paula was helping a friend of hers in the Ordu who just had twins. Her husband was still on campaign as was Bedagi, who did finally manage to write one letter. He was far away to the south on a large plain. Sarah had met and married a young man from the Ordu this summer. She was expecting her first child in the spring. I thought she should have waited until she was a little older to get married, but Mathilde said sixteen was a very typical age for Ordu girls to marry—in fact many married at even younger ages. I thought Mathilde looked well, so I supposed she was getting enough help with the little one.

When Aspenquid returned, he wanted to know what the Khakhan had wanted with me, but I explained I was only supposed to tell Theodore by his order. Aspenquid shrugged and observed that it probably wasn’t any of his business anyway, but wondered if I could at least tell him whether it involved his people at all. I assured him it didn’t and asked him how he knew I had been in that part of the Khanate. He said that Theodore had told them that was where I’d be. I asked if they expected him this winter. They did.

Indeed, within a week of my arrival, Theodore came in. His hair was completely gray now, but otherwise, he looked as vigorous as ever. He said that he had run into Aju that fall and found him well. He was visiting my old friend Ganook at the time. He suspected he was still in the North Country. He asked Mathilde and Aspenquid about the other children and we all asked about his. He said that Sarah and her boy were fine and she was expecting again in the spring. John had finished in Anahuac and was now studying with a Ben Zah friend of his. Paula was still studying with Nizhevoss. Mahwissa was also well and visiting with her brother. He then asked about my activities.

“First, I am supposed to ask you what you already know.”
“Ah, our beloved Khakhan wants to know what I know.”
“He wants to know if he has successfully plugged up the leaks.”

“Fair enough. I know that you were sent to Longjiang and from there went by boat to Zhen He. From there you went by horse to the new port, Yangzi. From there you rode north and I lost you for a while, but I know you ended up on a small island in the Wendat River with a strange person. You next surfaced alone in Zhen He this fall, where the Khakhan gave you a gerege. From there you went home.”

“Well, I don’t know how happy the Khakhan will be to hear how much you know, but he told me I could tell you the rest as long as I told him how much you already know.”

 

“By all means.”

I took him aside and told him the rest. He was most interested in how we were mispronouncing the written language, Latin, and in the language of the Eskualdunac. I told him that the Khakhan wanted to see him as soon as possible. He agreed to go see him after he had rested a day or so. I wrote up the information the Khakhan had requested and went to see the Ordu commander the next day. He was busy, but presentation of the gerege got me an immediate audience. I told him I needed to send my dispatch to the Khakhan by fast courier and he immediately gave it to a subordinate to get it on its way. He assured me it would be in the Khakhan’s hand in a few days. He asked if there was anything else he could do for me, but I assured him there wasn’t. He bowed low to me as I left.

When I returned I told Theodore about the reaction I was getting to the gerege. He said he was not surprised since word had been circulated that holders of gereges must be obeyed instantly and without question. I told him I found it very uncomfortable. He asked when I had to return to the Wendat. I explained that I was to be in Zheng He by the spring equinox. He suggested I go by sea from the newest port a little west of the mouth of the Ishak River. It was called Kujujuk. He rather felt that was appropriate since the Khakhan was responsible for all the other port building. He felt that I could get to Zheng He within three weeks with favorable winds. Since that meant I could stay a little longer, I thought it a good idea.

Within a few days Theodore went north. We told him to be careful since he was heading north in the middle of winter. He promised he would and that he would let us know when he reached Khanbalikh. We finally heard from him just as it was time for me to go. I was relieved to hear he had made it safely. As the time for me to go drew near, I wrestled with whether to bring John and Cuauhtzin with me. I reluctantly decided I didn’t want to risk either of them on a sea voyage. Mathilde was thrilled to keep John for me and resigned to keeping Cuauhtzin also. She had to admit the latter was a big help with the children. I clung to John for a while before giving him to Mathilde. Cuauhtzin immediately went with him. Little Carlotta cried when I left and ran after me until Aspenquid caught up with her and hauled her back. I really hated to leave.

40
Debriefing Luis, 108 K
(SW LA to Boston, MA, 1476)

I rode down the Ishak to the suspension bridge and crossed over. About three days later I rode into Kujujuk. It was rather small but heavily under construction. The port was on the western side of one of the rivers that emptied into the large protected bay. All the rivers were crossed with suspension bridges about a li or so from their mouths. The port had repair facilities, but no building docks and only one pier, although another one was under construction. There were a number of ships in the port, but very few were merchant ships. I rode to the harbor and asked for the harbormaster. I went to the house indicated and found a rather harried middle-aged Choson who waved me away impatiently until I produced my gerege. Then he bowed low and asked how he could serve me. I explained that I needed to get to Zheng He by the solstice and wondered if any of the ships in the harbor were heading there. He looked over his books and told me there was a ship that could get me there. It was almost finished being repaired and would be ready to leave in two days. It was a fast ship and would be honored to take me to Zheng He. I thanked him and asked him to direct me to an inn. He prevailed on me to take his house, but I insisted on an inn, and he directed me with a lot more bowing and promised to get me as soon as the ship could be boarded. I thanked him and went to the inn.

The inn to which he sent me was on a bit of a hill and had obviously just been built since it was suffused with the pleasant smell of freshly cut wood. I found the innkeeper and told him I needed a room until my ship sailed. He showed me to a pleasant, bright, spacious room with a nice view of the harbor. We agreed upon a price and I stowed my gear and went out to walk around the town. It was a warm day and much of the town was in a building frenzy. Near the harbor most of the houses were made or being made of wood. On the fringes of the town, there were grass houses and the hide tents, as well as a few of each being put together. A little north of the town, I could see that there was an encampment of at least a minghan. I couldn’t tell the Ordu from this distance. One would think they would be from the Pelicans, but Aspenquid hadn’t mentioned being responsible for the port. The people in the port were mostly Ishak and Titskan Watitch doing all the work, Hasinai doing most of the supervising with the usual contingent of Choson artisans and Leni lenape merchants. I noticed that there seemed to be something of a pecking order with the Choson on the top, the Leni lenape and Hasinai in the middle position, and the other two on the bottom. I wondered when that sort of thing had begun and why it was tolerated.
I returned to the inn in the evening for my meal and found the keeper bowing and scraping excessively and assuring me he wouldn’t dream of accepting any payment from me for my accommodations. I presumed he had gotten word about the gerege. I insisted that I would be insulted if he didn’t accept our agreed-upon price. He begged that I at least let him provide my meals. I agreed, although I was rather surprised that they weren’t included. As it turned out, the food was good enough for an extra charge. The cook obviously knew what to do with chili and whatever was served was always perfection. Who would have expected that in this rather semi desert? I recall the food generally matching the mean existence of the local tribes whenever I passed through here.

I wandered around the new town a bit more the next day while waiting and found that food was about all that was plentiful. The stores had little else to sell. What fabric, weapons, and tools that were for sale were definitely utilitarian. The only adornments I could see were small copper bangles and feathers, and all were clearly overpriced. I noticed that the merchants were all young men, so I supposed they were just getting started.

The second day a young man in the green navy uniform came to inform me that the ship was ready. As usual he was bowing excessively. I paid the innkeeper, complimented him on his cook, and followed the young man. He led me to one of the piers and indicated a fine-looking ship for me to board. It was a very trim ship, not much of a hull, nor as large as the fuchuan type, but rather top heavy with sails. The uniformed crew betrayed that it was a naval rather than merchant ship, but I could see no cannon. Word had gotten out about my gerege, for everyone on board was bowing whenever I came into view. I was presented to the captain who also started bowing. I told him he would very much please me if he gave me a room that was not intended for anyone else and if he could convince his crew to stop bowing all the time. He began to protest that it would be disrespectful, but I insisted that it would not be safe for the crew to be watching for and bowing after me instead of manning the ship. Besides it would make the trip very unpleasant for me. I think that last part struck terror in his heart and he quickly assembled the crew and instructed them to ignore me during the voyage.

We left with the tide that very evening. I mostly kept to myself, staying in my room except for a few daily turns on the deck to get some fresh air. The ship seemed to be under full or almost full sail most of the time. There was no sight of land until the sixth day when I could just see some small islands to the north. The next day we turned north so I assumed the islands were the small chain off the southern coast of the Timacua Peninsula. We were in sight of land again for a while on the seventh day but lost it by evening and did not see it again until we approached Zheng He on the fifteenth day. It was the day before the solstice. I had rather cut that one a little close and had been fortunate that a fast ship had been available.

It was midafternoon when we tied up to the pier and I left the ship. I didn’t see the Khakhan’s ship, so I went into town and looked for the harbormaster. He remembered me as having a gerege and immediately dropped what he was doing to rush up and bow before me. I asked if the Khakhan was in town, but he said he wasn’t aware of his being here, but he could assure me his ship was not in port. I thanked him and went out into the town. I went to the merchant stalls to look for a present for Luis. I was looking at a fine raw silk shirt when the same wraithlike man who had accosted me the year before thrust a note into my hand and disappeared into the crowd.

The note proved to be from the Khakhan. It told me to report to the governor on the Northeast Province in his capital, the port of Yangzi. I wondered when we started having governors and provinces in the Khanate. I bought the shirt and returned to the harbormaster to see if there was a ship bound for Yangzi. He told me there was and sent his assistant to lead me to it. It proved to be one of the fuchuan type ships, again a naval vessel with a full complement of cannon. The captain did not try to give me his quarters, but led me to a nice room on the port side of the ship. He only bowed slightly and the crew paid no special attention to me at all. I was relieved but puzzled.

We set sail before dark and on the morning of the fourth day were anchored in the Yangzi harbor when I got up. I ate quickly and was rowed ashore with very little ceremony. I walked into town and secured directions to the governor’s house. It was a large house near the center of the town. It was made of wood like the Choson houses but was rather more ornate, with a flared roof and an interesting paint covering. With all the bright colors it reminded me of the houses of the Huaxteca. It looked as though it wasn’t quite finished since there was some scaffolding on one side. There was an arban from the Osprey Ordu on duty in front of the house. I went up to the commander, showed him my gerege, and asked to see the governor. He saluted and led me into the house. He showed me into a nice waiting room and left. Shortly, an officious-looking sort, about my age, who had to be a Hotcangara, came into the room and, bowing low, asked me to follow him. He led me to a room in the back where there was an older man seated at a table. He rose when I entered the room and waved my guide away.

“I am Watomika, the governor of the Northeast Province. You are the Crow, of course.”

 

“I am. I didn’t know any Leni lenape were in the Khakhan’s service. But then, I didn’t know we had provinces and governors either.”

“You are not alone.” He chuckled. “The Khakhan has decided he needs help to run the Khanate of the Blue Sky. He appointed us in the winter. It was a brutal trip here from Khanbalikh in the middle of winter, but I suppose that was the first test of our office. To my surprise, the house was almost ready when I got here a few weeks ago. The Khakhan thinks of everything. As to your observation about my tribe being underrepresented on the Khakhan’s staff, you are quite correct. I think I am the only one. My brothers are merchants, of course.”

“That is more normal.” I laughed. “Now, what does the Khakhan want me to do this year?”

“Just intercept his agent and debrief him. See if you can get him to bring a map of this Urope, or whatever it’s called, next year. Tell him to come here and report to me directly next year. His ship can fish the nearby waters. I understand the fish they like grows larger in this area than up north. There is a ship standing by to take you to that small island where you found his ship last fall.”

“So after I debrief him, I report to you and I am no longer needed?”
“Those were my instructions. Although, I am also to thank you again on behalf of the Khakhan.” “Shall I return the gerege to you?”

“No. That can only be given back to the Khakhan himself. Until he demands it back, you can keep it. Of course, you shouldn’t use it unless you are on his business.”

 

“I wouldn’t dream of it. Until this last leg from Zhen He, I had to insist that captains not give up their cabins and that the crew stop bowing to me instead of manning the ship.”

“Yes, word just came from the Khakhan that holders of gereges must be obeyed and respected, but were not due the deference afforded the Khakhan. It seems he was unaware of how silly it had gotten until he talked with someone this past winter.”

“Well, I certainly appreciate the change.”
“Your ship awaits you. My assistant will take you there at once.”

He rang a bell and we both rose and bowed slightly to each other. The assistant proved to be the Hotcangara, who bowed low again and wordlessly led me out of the house and down to the harbor. He went down to one of the piers and led the way onto another naval fuchuan. This one was also fully armed with no less than thirty cannon in place. The crew was not currently armed, but I noticed bows and arrows stowed in specially built holders around the deck. There were also chests that held swords and shields. Later on, I encountered half a jagun of heavily armed soldiers below. It seemed the Khakhan wanted to be ready for any contingency.

The governor’s assistant introduced me to the captain, who nodded grimly and led me to my room. We didn’t sail until the next morning. Some six days later, we were approaching the peninsula jutting south from the island of the Beothuk. We dropped anchor and waited. A few days later, a host of sails appeared on the eastern horizon. There must have been hundreds of them. A single one was in the lead and I suggested to the captain that it was likely the one carrying Luis. He shrugged and lifted anchor. We went out a little and turned, presenting a broadside toward the ships, just in case anything was amiss. As the lead ship got close, I could just hear Luis’ voice greeting us in Mongol. The accent was still a bit off, but it was understandable. I answered him in Euskera and the captain turned our ship to pull up alongside Luis’ ship. He swung aboard our ship and greeted me warmly. We both waved to his shipmates as the ships drew apart. Our ship then turned southwest to get out of the way of the approaching fishing fleet.

I led Luis to my room. I noticed he was staring at the cannon on the ship’s deck and then looked off to the north and west scanning the horizon. I suspected he was checking to see if we had laid a trap for his fellows, but the absence of any other ships reassured him and he came along without comment. He handed me his report written in the Uighur script. It needed quite a few corrections, but really wasn’t too bad at all. I showed him his mistakes and rewrote his report asking a few questions to clarify some things.

It was an interesting report. It seemed that the difficulties with the succession in Gaztela continued. Last year Juana, who claimed to be the daughter of the last king, proclaimed herself queen of Gaztela with the support of the neighboring Kingdom of Portugal, whose king, Alfonso the Fifth, she had just married. Civil war was now raging all over Gaztela. It looked to him like Juana had the advantage, but he wouldn’t rule out Isabella’s chances. He felt the latter’s husband, Ferdinando, was quite the politician. There was also a civil war in Ingalaterra over the succession, but the current king, Eduardo the Fourth (Edward IV), had staged a little incursion against Frantzia in conjunction with Ardangori until the king of Frantzia, Luis the Eleventh, bought him off. The Ardangori, whose king was Carlos Ausarti (Charles the Bold), were still at war with Frantzia as well as some of their neighboring Alemainiera, the Suizos (Swiss) especially. The current emperor, Federico the Third (Frederick III), had been under harassing attacks from the kings of Bohemia and Hungaria, Jorge and Mateo (George and Matthew), respectively, although they had now turned against each other since Jorge was a vile heretic who had been excommunicated and condemned by the aitasantu (the Euskera name for the pope). Poloinia had also gotten in on this by proclaiming one of their princes, Ladislas, as king of Bohemia, replacing the execrable heretic Jorge. Mateo also wanted to be the new king and was now fighting Poloinia. One of the city-states of the Italianiera, Venezia (Venice), was at war with the Ottoman Empire, which had also invaded a province of Poloinia. It was obvious the whole lot of them were too busy fighting each other to bother us.

I asked him if he had experienced any problem with his people over becoming our agent. He assured me that the council was very pleased with our arrangement and he had been given expenses to travel about a bit to get information for us. He told me he had made inquiries in St. Jean de Luz about missing men, but there were too many to be able to distinguish my wife’s ancestors. It seems quite a few ships had never returned from the fishing expeditions. But, according to Luis, a few successful seasons can make one quite well off, so there were always more willing to try their luck. In truth, more were successful than not, so it was a good risk.

I told him what the Khakhan wanted from him next year, and he was certain he could copy a map he had seen at the university. He was sorry that I would not be meeting with him again, but I told him we could write. I would have a letter for him at the governor’s residence and he could send me one from there. The governor would know how to get it to me. Meanwhile I thought he should meet the governor and check out the new fishing site for his companions. He agreed, and I told the captain to return us to Yangzi. The captain shrugged and ordered the move.

Luis was given the room next to mine, but we spent most of the voyage together chatting. He wanted to know about my family history and I told him what I knew. He told me that the Black Forest was still there. It really wasn’t black, but it was so dense that when you were in it, it was dark even in the daytime. It was in the southwestern part of the empire. Innsbruck was also still there and still run by a bishop. It was in the south of the empire. He had never heard of John of Carpini or King Bela, but they would have been a long time ago.

“But tell me, Carlos,” he asked. “Have you heard of Marco Polo?”
“No.” I shook my head. “Who was he?”

“He was from Venezia, the Italianiera city state at war with the Ottoman Empire. He wrote a book about visiting the Khanate. Most people thought it was a fraud, but one of my teachers thought it was legitimate.”

“He visited here? Did he come over the sea alone?”
“No, he went overland through Persia and on the Spice Road.”
“Overland? When was this?”
“About two hundred years ago.”
“Two hundred! We’ve only been here about one hundred years.”
“Isn’t this Cathay?”
“I never heard of Cathay. Where is that?”
“It is what we call the Khanate.”
“You must mean the old Khanate. About two hundred years ago, the Khan would have been Kubilai.” “Yes, that’s the one Marco Polo visited. He was an official of the Khan for twenty years.”

“It is possible, the Mongols usually gave all offices to foreigners. That way there was no question of loyalty. But the Hanjen drove us out of there a hundred years ago. That’s why we came here. We crossed over the frozen sea in winter far to the northwest. There were only about five thousand of us, but we now rule this whole land.”

“What is this land then?”

“It is a continent. There are two very large landmasses connected by a narrow isthmus in the middle. This is the northeast corner of the northern landmass. The old Khanate is far to the west and is ruled by the Hanjen now, not us.”

“But you have silk, you gave me this shirt.”

 

“We trade with the Choson who live near the old Khanate, but we have our own silk industry in the southern part of this landmass.”

 

“So there is another whole continent between Europa and Cathay. The world must be a lot larger that I thought.”

“I’m sure there is a map of the continent at the governor’s residence. I’ll show you when we get there.” “You seem such a powerful people. How were you thrown out of Cathay?”

“For fear of being absorbed by the Hanjen, the Mongols kept them in subservient roles. Eventually they revolted, and, since they far outnumbered us, they prevailed. We have avoided that problem here. Everyone, in theory, has the same opportunity as anyone else.”

“In theory?”

“Well, it holds fairly well, actually, but sometimes I have seen some of the more primitive tribes brushed aside. Of course, there isn’t much they could do about it. The majority of the people seem to thrive under the Khanate.”

“What was here when you got here?”

 

“There were a multitude of tribes of various sizes with various forms of governance and levels of sophistication.”

“And your five thousand took them over?”
“We had quite a few things they didn’t, and many of them were quite willing to join us to get them.” “Like what?”

“They didn’t have horses, iron weapons, compound bows, gunpowder, rockets, silk, decent battle tactics, army organization, things like that.”

 

“Why we, or rather one of the kingdoms of Europa, could have conquered them if they didn’t have those things.”

 

“Perhaps. But those that opposed us fought very hard. I took part in one of the campaigns in the southern landmass, and it was not an easy thing at all.”

 

“Why don’t you retake Cathay?”

 

“We might eventually, but we still haven’t taken all of this land yet. Our forces are still conquering their way southward on the southern landmass, the Khanates of the Clouds and the Green Mist.”

 

“Why are there other Khanates?”

“Because of the size. This is a huge continent. The northern part is the Khakhanate of the Blue Sky, the middle part is the Khanate of Anahuac, and the southern landmass is divided into the Clouds in the west and the Green Mist in the east.”

“And the Khakhan is above the Khans?”
“Yes.”
“And you are from the middle one?”
“Yes. My cousin is the Khan.”
“You’re royalty?”

“No. My father was the youngest son of the first Khan of Anahuac. His eldest son succeeded him and his second son was the first Khan of the Clouds. My father was a healer.”

“And they are all fair skinned like you?”
“Well my father and grandfather were, but none of my living relatives are except for my son.” “You have a son?”
“Yes, he’s about two years old now. He’s staying with my sister.”
“Did something happen to his mother?”
“My wife died giving birth to him.”
“I’m sorry.”
“So am I, but I still feel her with me.”

We talked a bit about our families. He was the third son of sheepherders in the mountains of Gipuzkoa. His brothers were also shepherds, but he had learned Latin from the local priest and his family reluctantly let him go off to be a priest. When he was kicked out, he went to the port of Donostia to try his hand at fishing, because he didn’t want to return home a failure. He was very pleased to be our agent because it is quite a mark of distinction. We prattled on pleasantly for the duration of the trip. Once we reached Yangzi, we pulled up to one of the piers, and Luis and I debarked. As I led the way to the governor’s house, he looked at all the people and the houses in the town and also received no few curious looks in return.

“Where is the church?”
“What church?”
“Aren’t you Christian? Where is the church for this town?”

“I may be Christian and most of my relatives may be, but no one else here is. There are no churches. Religions and priests are not encouraged in the Khakhanate.”

“But your relative is one of the Khans. Aren’t his people Christians?”
“No. They all have their own gods, although many of them also honor the Mongol god, Tengri.” “The Church will want to send missionaries here.”
“What are missionaries?”
“Priests who teach the true religion.”

“Luis, don’t even think about sending priests of any kind here. Once they are found out, they would be executed.”

 

“But it is monstrous to allow all these people to go to hell.”

 

“All these people are just like everyone else, some are good and some are bad. Those who are good will be welcomed by God, those who are not will not be. They don’t need to belong to any religion.” “Oh but they do, Carlos. You have been away from formal training too long. No one who is not baptized can see God.”

“I really don’t believe that. Also, you had best keep any such opinions to yourself. If word got back to the Khakhan that you were trying to introduce a religion with priests into the Khanate, he would surely turn on you and your people.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Priests are considered enemies of the Khanate. They have been since the earliest times when we first came here. It was priests who always inspired resistance to us, and bitterly opposed us whenever we encountered them.”

“Well those weren’t real priests, they were idolaters.”

“They led complicated ceremonies just like all priests do and they try to rule by placing themselves between the people and their gods, making them think they can only communicate with them through their good offices. I suspect your priests are no different. My grandfather wrote that his ancestors had little use for them since they were an immoral lot.”

“Well, there are some immoral priests, but many are not. I’m sure quite a few of the friars would be willing to come here to preach in spite of the threat to their lives.”

 

“It isn’t a threat. It is a guarantee. Even if they are brave enough to come here to die, you would be blamed for bringing them and our arrangement with your people would be over.”

 

“It his hard for me to ignore my Christian duty, but my people are poor, and this is their only real asset. It would be disloyal of me to take it from them.”

“Good. Speak no more of it to anyone here or back in Gipuzkoa.”
“I won’t.”
“What is a friar?”

“A member of one of the religious orders. They take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, completely dedicating themselves to the work of the Church.”

“Sort of fanatics?”
“Ahh, well, perhaps some are.”

When we reached the governor’s house, I presented myself to the jagun commander again, and he led us right into the waiting room. Shortly the Hotcangara assistant came in and led us to the back room. Watomika rose to greet us and I made the introductions. He eyed Luis for a moment, then took my report and read it quietly.

“Quite a quarrelsome lot these people,” he remarked when he looked up from the report.
“Yes,” I agreed. “It looks like we need not concern ourselves about them for a while.
“Do you think they will ever unite?” he asked Luis.

“They never have, even in the face of severe threat to them all. When your people invaded long ago, only those in their path rose to stop them, none of those farther west lifted a finger to help. Even now, only those directly threatened by the evil Ottomans make any move against them. The rest stand aloof.”

“We ran into some of that here, eh Crow?” He smiled.
“It seems the general way of things. Only the Hotcangara and the Chikasha united against us,” I agreed. “In the Clouds we just took one tribe at a time.”

“It was the same way in the Green Mist,” Watomika shrugged. Then he turned back to Luis. “What makes these Ottomans evil?”

 

“They…” He hesitated and looked at me. “They simply are trying to conquer all of Europa and destroy our…heritage.”

“Well then, I can see why you resist them. Did you know that the Crow is quite a legendary warrior?” “Legendary?” I interjected. “Lucky, perhaps, but hardly legendary.”

“Nonsense. I heard the whole story. He and a handful of others were all that remained of a tumen that was surrounded and greatly outnumbered by the enemy. And then he bravely acted as a shield to protect his cousin, the brother of the then Khan of Anahuac for the rest of the campaign.”

“I had no idea, Carlos.” Luis looked at me in awe. “I have never been in a battle. What is it like?” “Brutal, confusing, exhausting, frustrating,” I began.
“Don’t forget terrifying,” Watomika added.

“And that’s only the rare battles,” I continued. “They merely punctuate the endless marches in all kinds of weather.”

“And the counter marches and confusing orders,” Watomika pursued.
“But you were heroic and did not run,” Luis said reverently.
“There really isn’t any time to think about running.” I shrugged. “An officer is too busy to even consider it.” “Exactly!” Watomika laughed.
“Even so, I often wondered if I would stand and fight or run,” Luis said quietly.

“I suspect thinking about it would make it more likely,” I said. “But to the people of this land, running from battle is worse than death. They prefer to die than run away. In our battles taking this land we rarely took prisoners, but in truth, few offered themselves.”

“I hope my people never become your enemies,” Luis shuddered.
“You are our allies,” Watomika reassured him. “Unless you betray us, we will never be your enemies.” “That is true,” I concurred. “We have always been true to our word.”

Watomika promised to send the report on to the Khakhan and agreed to deliver any mail between us next year. I asked if there was a map of the land and he had his assistant lead us into the map room. It was a large room with a huge table on top of which was a large map of all the land. I pointed out to Luis where we were, where his shipmates were and some of the places significant to me. He was clearly dumbstruck by the size of the land. I noticed that the southern tip of the southern landmass had finally been mapped, but there was a blank space inland from the coast. The Clouds seemed to stop at a large desert area some distance from the tip, while the Green Mist was much closer to the tip. On the other hand, the Mist did not go inland as far in the north as the Clouds did. The latter seemed to have explored all the huge mountain ranges in the west and even penetrated into the jungle lands beyond. The former seemed to have explored the major rivers and a small strip of coast in the middle, but penetrated more deeply in the south. I wondered if there would be any land disputes between the two Khanates.

Luis noticed the blank areas, and I explained that they were not yet mapped. He also noticed that the northern coast of the Khakhanate was a little vague, and I explained that it was very difficult to map that area since the coast was hemmed in with ice most of the year and in the brief summer was plagued by swarms of mosquitoes. I added that we had never really incorporated much of the area into the Khakhanate, but had left the rather primitive people there alone. He told me that there was a large island north and a little east of the Beothuk Island where there used to be a colony of people from Escandinaviera, but all had perished. It now contained a savage people who ate raw meat. The land had been called Gronland (the Green Land in the language of the Escandinaviera). He had had a classmate from Escandinaviera who told him about it. I told him I wasn’t aware of them, but I had heard that a long time ago some fair-skinned people had landed in the north to cut down trees and take the logs back with them.

He also tried to estimate where Ice Land would be on our map scale. It looked to be some distance out into the sea east of Green Land. He said his land, Euzkadi, was just a little south of due east of Beothuk Island. I asked if it was cold there, but he said it wasn’t particularly cold, even in the winter, although the winters had gotten colder from what the old folks said. I told him the same thing was said here.

It was hard to get him away from the map and, frankly, I didn’t mind studying it myself. I asked him if he had the time would he make another copy of the map of Europa for me and mark on it the Black Forest and his land. He agreed to do his best. Eventually we went back to the ship and prevailed on the captain to show us the fishing grounds the governor mentioned. He agreed and we sailed out of the bay around the Nauset Peninsula and south a little distance.

The next morning Luis and I lowered the little boat and he showed me how they fished for the makailo. All we did was lower a bare hook on a line and jerk it a little. Before very long we hauled up these large fish from three to five feet long and very heavy. Before long the boat was full and we returned to the ship. He showed me how they split and cleaned the fish and salted it using some salt he had brought with him. He only salted the two largest fish and gave the rest to the crew to eat fresh. It was prepared in the usual way but, frankly, I thought it was rather bland. I could see that most of the crew agreed with me—although it was, at least, something different.

I told Luis I thought the fish was rather bland and he agreed and told me his people never ate it fresh, but only after it had been salted and smoked. He promised to give the crew a taste when we returned him to his crewmates. I told the captain to return us to the small island off the coast of Beothuk Island. We weighed anchor and headed north.

41
More Travels with John and Cuauhtzin, 108–9 K
(Newfoundland to SE CA, 1476–7)

In a few days we arrived at the tiny island where Luis’ shipmates had set up their fish-drying station. Luis and I were rowed ashore and he brought the two large salted fish with him. His fellows ran up to greet us. We dragged the small boat ashore and Luis showed the others the fish and told them where he had gotten them. The others were a little reluctant to pick up again since they were in the middle of drying their fish, but they had to admit fish that size would be worth starting over again. Still they had to wait for their ship to return at dusk. I told them that our ship could lead them there if they wished and that pleased them also.

Near dusk their ship returned and they rowed out to explain the situation. The crew discussed it among themselves, passed around Luis’ two fish, and decided that they had nothing to lose. They busily hauled all their fish and drying racks from the shore back to their ship until darkness forced them to stop. True to his word, Luis sent us some of the salted and dried fish to try. Most of us agreed it was better that way, but I thought it needed something yet—chili, perhaps. The next morning at dawn they continued to load their ship, and then I returned to the fuchuan and told the captain to lead the other ship to the fishing site. He gave me a look suggesting he was more than a little tired of going back and forth over the same bit of ocean, so I assured him that once he had done so, he could drop me off in Yangzi and be done with me. That rather warmed him to the task.

The fishing boat had a hard time keeping up with us and we had to cut sail to a minimum. It took about eight days to get to the area. We dropped anchor briefly, and when the ship finally caught up, I told them this was the place. Luis and I bid each other farewell and promised to write. Then his ship turned toward the nearest shore to set up their drying racks and our ship returned to Yangzi.
Once back in Yangzi, I returned to Watomika. He thanked me again and assured me he would send along any letters between Luis and me. He asked if I wanted to take a ship back to Kujujuk or anywhere else. I decided I should, since it would get me back sooner than traveling overland. He urged me to do so, since I was returning from the Khakhan’s business and had every right to make use of my gerege. We made our farewells and I wished him luck in his new office. He thanked me.

I sought out the harbormaster and discovered that there was a ship going to Kujujuk currently tied to the pier. I was directed to it. It turned out to be another naval ship of the fuchuan type. It was as heavily armed as the one that had taken me to meet Luis and also had a whole jagun from the Osprey Ordu aboard. I noticed that this unit was armed with the latest version of the hand cannon. I chatted a bit with their commander and he and most of his men proved to be Mingue. He told me that they were an elite unit, as only about half the Ordu had a hand cannon jagun. I asked how they like being on the ship. He admitted that it took getting used to, but so far they had all adjusted well. They had already sailed to the mouth of the Wendat and back. I would seem the Khakhan had been ready to fall on the fishing fleet had there been any provocation.

I noticed that many of the ship’s crew were Pansfalaya and I asked one of them when they had joined. He told me that the Khakhan was recruiting among all the coastal tribes and near coastal tribes in the south. He speculated that it was thought desirable to have representatives of all the tribes on the ships. I asked if there were any Ani’ Yun’-wiya yet, but he didn’t think so.

Along the voyage we stopped occasionally for a battle drill of sorts. The ship’s crew would clear the decks and fire the cannon; then the jagun would run onto the deck and fire their hand cannon. It was quite a loud show. The commander of the jagun told me that in battle his men would only fire at close range, otherwise, they would stay below, out of the way. It seemed that the hand cannon were only useful when fired en masse, since they weren’t too accurate. I speculated that the bow would probably be of more use and he had to agree, although he did feel that receiving a salvo from his jagun would be quite demoralizing to an enemy.

It was late spring when we reached Kujujuk. I noticed that the building frenzy had rather trailed off and the town was now about medium sized. I secured some horses and rode out immediately. A few days later, I was again approaching the Pelican Ordu from the south. I planned to stay only a few days, then take John and Cuauhtzin north to visit relatives, but a letter from Nezahualpili delayed me. It was quite a long tome with much philosophical speculation and some rather insightful questions for such a young man. I took the time to answer his questions and encourage his speculations. I also passed on a few of my personal observations on related topics. It took me quite a while to write the letter since I had to think and meditate on it to do it justice.

Finally we set off north. We must have been quite a sight, the two-year-old John, Cuauhtzin, and me. John was, of course, again strapped to my chest and Cuauhtzin was firmly attached to my shoulder. I passed up the eastern relatives and headed straight for Khartsgaibalikh (Hawk City), the old site of the Hawk Ordu. I took a rather roundabout route so that I could return to the site of my marriage to Carlotta. It was still as I remembered it, although the road through it was more pronounced and I suspected before long someone would settle there. I could see that more than a few people had camped there that year. Still, I found the spot where we had camped and spent a few days lost in wonderful memories.

John proved to be a very good traveler. He didn’t really cry, but he would have a troubled look, which would uncannily draw my attention whenever he needed anything. When I left him with Mathilde, he spoke fairly clear Ani’ Yun’-wiya. At the start of this trip, however, he spoke a complete mishmash of languages none of which he pronounced exactly correctly. His sentence structure proved to be quite imaginative if not precisely comprehensible. I spent a week at a time speaking only one language to him. This helped considerably to unravel his vocabulary and by the end of the summer he was speaking several languages well, but with a limited vocabulary. He was a very bright boy. Cuauhtzin was absolutely no help at all with his endless Otomi curses, but once in a while he would surprise me by calling John by his name. John loved it when he called him and would answer as often as he was called, giggling particularly hard if the bird would keep calling him.

It was a wonderful summer and fall. We went from relative to relative letting all of the adults make a big fuss over John and all the children make a big fuss over Cuauhtzin. I never stayed more than a few days making sure never to wear out our welcome. I usually did some hunting to ensure we were no burden. Oddly, much as we were welcomed and fussed over, I felt rather detached. It was as though I had no real connection to these people. Some of them were strangers to me, of course, but others I had met before. I was almost relieved when I reached Dsidsila’letc and Sealth and Kudeitsaakw, knowing they would be my last visit.

It had been five years since I had seen them. Their children were all gone from home. Paula had married a young Ka-i-gwu man few years before and was living in her husband’s town. Taiwit was on campaign in the Green Mist and Skolaskin was training in the Salmon Ordu. They still lived in the same plank house in town although it was a little large for just the two of them. I asked particularly after Ganook, and Kudeitsaakw assured me he and his wife were still well and still living in Stikine. I told her to send him my best and tell him I was still grateful for the best six years of my life. I hoped to take John to the cabin when he was old enough, unless someone else was using it.

Sealth and Kudeitsaakw wanted me to stay all winter with them, but I pointed out that Cuauhtzin could not take the cold weather. So after a few days, I started south and west, and then along the coast. I wanted to find the Koryo River settlement where my father was born and where my grandfather had been happiest. It took almost three weeks to get there, but I found it easily enough. There was a small monument on which were written the names of all the family members who died there and below the others was written the name of my aunt Mathilde who had been brought there to be buried with the others after she died. There were no structures on the site of their settlement and very little sign remained of what they had built so long ago. It was a nice spot and I could see why they enjoyed it so much. I camped there that night, but had no special dreams.

We continued south after that, stopping at yams along the way since the nights were getting cool. There were a number of villages along the way and the people were very friendly. I could tell that I was passing through different tribes, but other than nuances in their looks and variation in their languages, it was difficult to distinguish them. There seemed to have been an amalgamation of the different tribes into a single culture with the same housing, dress, and customs. Mongol seemed to be the dominant language, also, although a few odd words from the local language survived. I was not sure if this was for the best or not. I did suspect it was to the distinct advantage of the Khakhanate.

It took another three weeks to reach Raven Bay. It was a very large bay with a narrow mouth to the sea. As we rode around it, the land became rather marshy along most of the northern and eastern shores. There were many settlements around the bay along the rivers that emptied into it. There was a remarkable abundance of waterfowl not unlike what one sees in the Great Bay and the Great Sound in the East.

I still thought it was a bit chilly here, however, so we continued south. At the southern end of the bay we stopped at a yam in a village called Posol-mi. The people of the village were called something like Tamien, but they were virtually indistinguishable from the Mongolized tribes of the north. The yam keeper told me that the tribes of this whole area had been devastated by the plagues that had descended on them from the north during my grandfather’s exile and had lost much of their tribal cohesion. They all embraced their conquerors from the north. Actually “conquerors” rather overstates it, the Ordu had merely ridden into the area and the tribes had joined immediately. In any case, the only thing that still marked them was their language and that, he assured me, was being corrupted more each day. He also told me that the young men were almost all joining the Ordu or the navy at the nearby port on the bay, Khon Khereebalikh (Raven City).

I could just see the port from the shore of the bay although it was some distance to the north on the western side of the bay below the opening to the sea. There were quite a few ships visible, among them one of the huge ships. The yam keeper told me that it was quite a large port with many piers and dry docks. I could not imagine why the Khakhan had all that naval power there. I supposed it was to check any incursions from the Choson, however unlikely that seemed.

At any rate in the early morning, just at dawn, Cuauhtzin awakened me with a very uncharacteristic shriek. Thinking a snake had gotten in the room, I jumped out of bed, grabbed my sword and lit the lamp. I looked everywhere in the room, but found nothing. Cuauhtzin had flown to my shoulder and seemed to be very agitated, babbling in Otomi. I put down the sword and comforted him a while, only to find John awake and staring at me with that troubled look of his. I put out the lamp since there was just enough light and decided to get ready to go since I was up anyway. Then, suddenly the ground began to shake violently. It was the worst earthquake I had ever experienced, and we had many earthquakes in Anahuac. The yam houses were thatch, and except for things falling down off tables and benches, it held up quite well. Both John and Cuauhtzin were quiet during and after the quake, but as I gathered our things, the latter lectured me in Otomi.

The yam keeper looked in to see if we had been injured and thanked me for Cuauhtzin’s warning. He told me he should have realized something was wrong since the horses had been very restless in the night. I asked him if such quakes were common here, but he assured me the more common ones were much milder. This one had been the worst he remembered. We had a cold breakfast and left early. As we traveled south, I noticed that the ground had been rather torn up in places, and the road had been dislocated to the north a short distance. Throughout the next few days there were many smaller earthquakes. I was glad when they finally stopped.

About midmorning the second day out of Posol-mi, we regained the coast on a bay shaped like the Latin letter C reversed. We spent the night near its midpoint at a village called Kalinta-ruk at the mouth of a river (the Kalinta). The yam keeper in the village told me something of the people before the plagues. He said that they often fought among themselves, and the village chief’s main authority was in war. They never took prisoners, but there had been some ritual cannibalism. It seemed the parents of the man who slew the enemy would eat certain parts of the victim. Otherwise, the dead enemy were mutilated and dismembered with the head or the skin of the head carried about in triumph. All this nonsense ended when the Khanate took over. It took another day and a half to get out of their territory. The road led away from the coast after we crossed the Kalinta River, but eventually returned to it in the lands of the next tribe, the Welel, a small tribe concentrated in the rough country along that part of the coast.

The keeper at the yam along the road told me that the tribe had originally extended north to the large C-shaped bay, but that they had been squeezed out by the interlopers, currently occupying the area. He also mentioned that their subsequent isolation had protected them from the ravages of the plague, but had almost been their undoing since they at first resisted the Khanate. Fortunately after their army was surrounded and wiped out, the rest submitted quickly and quietly. He was also concerned that the young men were joining the Ordu or the navy and not returning. He suspected the tribe would eventually die out.

The next tribe along the coast did not seem to have a distinct name, but simply called themselves by the name of their villages. Only two of the yams were in their villages along the coast; the rest were isolated. These people had lost all of their distinctness and it seemed their language was so corrupted with Mongol and Yokut (their dominant inland neighbors) that it had to be considered gone. They had been severely affected by the plagues and their remnant had lost all tribal cohesion. Their village names were about all that was left of their language.

The road continued south through an unpopulated area, then entered the land of a people generally called Chumash, although it seemed that was really only the name of the part of the tribe that lived on a large island off the coast. As usual the yam keepers gave me some of the history of the people. They had been a mighty tribe before the plagues (weren’t they all). They lived in peace with their neighbors engaging in some trading. The plagues had greatly reduced them, but they had maintained their cohesion and still seemed a bit distinct from their northern neighbors. Their houses were large dome-shaped structures made of poles driven into the ground, bent, and bound together at the top with sticks extended between the poles and reed mats or thatch fastened over them. Mats were also used to provide some privacy inside. Most of the yams in their territory were such houses. They also made fine basketry and carved implements and figures out of a soft stone. The keepers assured me that the tribe was coming back from its nadir because of the rich resources along their part of the coast.

The coast took a sharp turn to the east and I could see the offshore islands of the Chumash from the road. It took over a week to pass through their lands and all the villages along the road were large and buzzing with activity. I noticed the people used feathers for blankets and cloaks rather than the rabbit fur preferred by their northern neighbors. I also noticed how mild the winter was there. It seemed likely I would soon be able to turn east.

The next tribe I encountered was called the Kigzh. They spoke a variant of the language of the people called Nomo far to the north. At least that is what I was told by a yam keeper. Since I had no knowledge of either language, I couldn’t say. The keeper who told me that was in a position to know, however, since he was a Nomo who had joined the Ordu and had been stationed nearby while a search was being made for another port in that area. He discovered similarities while talking to the locals and surmised that some of his people must have migrated in the past, although he knew of no legends about such a migration. When he had finished his tour with the Ordu, he had settled down and married into a local family.

I asked about the port and he said a site was finally chosen some distance to the south on a large bay something like, but much smaller than Raven Bay. A people called the Ipai lived there and the bay had been named after them. The port was built on the site of one of their villages called Paulpa. I asked if the port had been named Paulpa, but it seemed the villagers took great umbrage at having their home appropriated and they had to be forcibly evicted. There had been some bloodshed before order was restored and the survivors left quietly. Unfortunately some of them resorted to sabotage and a jagun was sent after them. All the men were executed and the women and children were sent into the desert to survive or die.

It seems that the Ipai had not resisted the Khanate when they first swept in, but periodically there would be incidents and reprisals. More than one local commander wanted to wipe them all out, but such extreme measures required the approval of the Khakhan, and none of them wanted to admit to him that they couldn’t control the locals. I decided it would be prudent to avoid the Ipai on our travels since my little band would be a fairly easy target for a group of bandits. My host strongly agreed and suggested I turn east along the road that goes to a pass through the mountains and into the desert. I would need to bring along plenty of water and horse fodder for passing through the desert although this was the best time of year to do so since there was often rain. Along this road I should only encounter tribes related to the Kigzh, all of whom would be friendly and helpful. Once across the desert, I would find the lands of the Hamakhava, a tribe of wanderers and warriors. They had embraced the Khanate in the time of Juchi. He had visited them on one of his journeys and had brought back a large contingent of them. My host assured me they would receive me well. However, there would be no yams along this route, or any other through the desert.

I secured several extra water bags and an extra horse for the desert passage and turned east along the road the yam keeper had indicated. It was easy to see. Just as the coast turned south again, the small road joined it from the east. The Kigzh seemed to have flourished under the Khanate, for there were many settlements along the way. We spent the night in a few of them along the way. Their houses were square and made of reed mats on a framework of poles. They had a sort of sweat lodge, although they didn’t use steam—just dry heat. I gamely tried it, but frankly didn’t really like it. They used ground acorn meal as their food of choice although some inroads had been made by centli. Their meat of choice seemed to be dog and snake, although there had been some acceptance of dried plains ox and deer. Meals among them were generally an adventure, but I found I could eat anything with sufficient ground chili seasoning. I explained to them that it was a sort of medicine I had to take, so that they wouldn’t be offended.

The transition to the next tribe was hard to detect, but they told me they were called Takhtam. These people apparently had two clans: the westerners were generally the wildcat clan and the easterners were the coyotl clan. My host on the first night was a member of the first clan and he was pleased to tell me that I was named for the kinsman of the wildcat. I would not even attempt to figure that one out. The land they occupied was quite pleasant—oak-filled valleys and mountainsides. It was preferable to the rather dry grassland farther west and much nicer than the desert I was approaching in the east. The slope of the ground was generally uphill, but the weather did not appreciably change. It remained fairly mild. During my second day among the Takhtam, the oaks gave way to the aromatic brush so common in the drier plains to the north, just east of the mountains. That evening I discovered that the buzzard is a kinsman of the coyotl.

Although the coyotl clan covered a larger territory than the wildcats, their settlements were small and few along the road. As I approached the pass, I encountered yet another related tribe called the Kwawia. I came upon a few of their settlements on the first day. The largest was at a sort of oasis in the desert after I had descended from the pass. I noticed the sweat lodges were not used in the desert. I can confirm that they would be superfluous. The Kwawia had the same clans as their eastern neighbors although the coyotl were in the west and the wildcats were in the east. I filled all the water skins and loaded up with fodder at the oasis, since I was warned I would not likely find either to the east. I had to camp in the desert the last two of the four nights I was among them. Their houses were large and square with a nearly flat roof and all made of thatch. They ate a remarkable collection of vegetation gleaned from the desert. One meal they shared with me seemed to be of boiled dried flowers. The flowers were rather fleshy, so the meal was not as insubstantial as one might think. Frankly, the meals I prepared for John looked better than their meals. Cuauhtzin enjoyed everything, however.

At some point I passed out of Kwawia land and into that of the Nuwu. I didn’t encounter any village or even a small hunting party while in their area. For all the suggestion that it was the rainy season, I saw no rain or even clouds once I crossed over the pass into the desert. Toward the end of the second day, I was setting up camp when a lone man approached on foot from the north. He proved to be a very old man who seemed to have nothing with him—not even a water skin. When he drew near, I hailed him and invited him to join us for dinner. He smiled broadly and squatted down by our fire. He was wearing leather shirt and shoes and a cotton breechcloth. He wore his hair loose and long. He introduced himself as Wodziwob, a Nuwu shaman.

After our meal he began to sing in his own language. He had a pleasant voice although I had no idea what he was singing. When he finished he explained that he had a dream a few days ago and had been sent to meet me, a strange fair-skinned man with a baby and a bird. He was reasonably certain I must be he. I assured him there was most likely no such apparition as us anywhere else in Khakhanate.

“I am glad I have found you,” he said, “although I knew I would. The dream told me to warn you that there is danger ahead. Before you reach the Hamakhava, two men will ambush you. They will try to kill you and the child. A powerful, but very young ruler has sent them.”

I was shocked at first, then furious. That vile brat was only ten years old and already sending men into the Khakhanate to kill John and me. I could feel the fury raging through me and must have turned red. Wodziwob looked at me in wonder and then nodded his head in sympathy. He waited while I regained control of myself and thanked him for the warning.

“I regret that I had to bring you such unpleasant news, but I do not question the mandates of the god.” “I thank you for the warning and am grateful to your god.”
“You must be very special to him.”

I was not too tired, so I quickly hatched a plan. I was sure they would have a campfire since no one would expect me to travel at night. I waited until John was asleep and asked Wodziwob if he would watch over him for me until I return. He agreed, but asked me to spare the men if possible as a token to the god. I was bewildered at his request, but in no position to refuse. I mounted my most-rested horse and rode carefully east making use of the nearly full moon to stay on the road. I had not ridden far when I saw the light of a campfire. I rode as close as I dared, then approached on foot using whatever cover the desert afforded.

There were two men huddled before the fire speaking in Nahual. One was probably a Mexica, but the other, who was older, looked familiar. I crept close enough to hear their words clearly and to check their weapons. They had foolishly left their bows with their horses that were some distance away tied to one of the small wiry trees that grow sparsely in the desert. They had also removed their swords and laid them next to where they had set their blankets. They would likely be able to reach them, but I would have the element of surprise on my side. They were talking about banalities, boasting about what great warriors they were as I drew to within six feet of them. I drew my sword quietly.

Suddenly I rose up and rushed them. Both froze in shock, but only for a moment before lunging for their swords. I kicked the older one into a rock which left him senseless long enough for me to face the younger one. This one landed on his sword, grabbed it, and rolled away from my well-aimed thrust. He jumped to his feet and we fought. He was strong but impetuous and not well trained. Before long he was disarmed and bleeding profusely from his side. I turned in time to meet the thrust of the older one who had regained his senses. He was better than the other, but also no match for me. His style was familiar, however, and before long it came to me. It was Huactli, a fellow student of mine at the calmecac where I had trained so long ago. I instantly remembered his weakness, a tendency to drop his guard when he hacked down. I seemed to falter and he took the bait giving me an opening as he swung back to hack down. Remembering my promise, I stabbed him through his upper arm and he dropped his sword and fell holding his arm.
I tied up his wound, then told him to see to his friend. He bound up the younger man while I broke both of their swords and confiscated their bows. Then I sat across the fire from the two sorry figures and covered them with one of their arrows.

“Well Huactli, I see you still can’t use the sword properly.”
“You remember me?” He looked shocked.
“It is hard for me to believe that a man from Alcolmiztli’s calmecac would become a lowly bandit.” “I am no bandit. The Khan ordered us to kill you.”
“You accept orders like that? The Mexica, I can understand, but you? You are from Chalco.” “You know as well as I do that one does not question the orders of the Khan.”
“And what of the regent? Did he approve this order?”
“No, of course not.”
“You accepted an order from a boy and didn’t get it approved by the regent?”
“He promised us great things.”

“Promises he could not deliver without the approval of the regent. Do you know what the regent would have done to you if he knew you had killed me?”

 

“We wouldn’t have told him—just the boy.”

 

“And if he found out? Do you think the boy could or would protect you? Are you aware that the Khakhan considers me his ambassador? Can you even conceive what he would do to you?”

“We did not know.” He turned ashen. “I know what happens to those who kill the Khakhan’s ambassador.” “You are most fortunate you have failed.”
“Why didn’t you kill us?”
“The one who warned me about you asked me not to do so.”
“It would have been better if you did; we cannot return to Anahuac without your head.”

“I leave it to you then. Remain in the Blue Sky, join an Ordu, go on campaign in the Green Mist, come back and begin a new life, or return to Anahuac and die. As it is, I don’t think you will be in any condition to renew your assignment anytime soon.”

“We would not dare resume our assignment. We have heard about the Khakhan—we don’t want to incur his wrath. Still, you are leaving us wounded and unarmed in the desert. How can we survive?” “I will leave you two of your horses. They will get you to the Hamakhava in a few hours. Don’t let me see you again, or I’ll assume the worse and consider the request to spare you fulfilled.”

“We better go now. I don’t think my associate here will survive the night.”
“The moon will light your way as well as it lit mine.”

They hobbled off to their horses and rode slowly toward the east. I took their spare horses and remounted my horse and turned back to my camp. When I arrived, Wodziwob was sitting quietly by the fire while Cuauhtzin watched over John from his perch stand. I told him what had happened and he thanked me for sparing them. He assured me that they would not bother me again. I didn’t ask how he knew that, but I did wonder. It was full morning when I awakened and Wodziwob had taken the liberty to fix a morning meal. When we finished, he asked me to accompany him northward for a few days. It was out of the way, but I agreed, once again feeling an obligation.

I asked if he could ride and he laughed before easily mounting one of the horses. We rode north along the eastern slopes of a range of hills and then into another small range that blocked our path. There was no road, but he easily led the way. Along the way I asked him if he had any idea how the two ambushers had known I would be coming this way. He said simply that the god had not proffered that information and he had not thought to ask. I was sorry I hadn’t thought to ask them myself. Toward nightfall we came to a cave where we dismounted and he led the way in. This proved to be his home.

42
From the Desert to the Pelican Ordu, 109–10 K
(SE CA to SW LA, 1477–8)

The cave was not deep, only about twelve feet. It sloped upward, which would keep the rare rain from flooding it. The mouth was not high, I had to stoop to enter, but it was fairly wide. There was a small area closed in by the hills almost like a corral a little to the north of the cave where we could tether the horses. I gave them water and some fodder, then joined my host. On the way I checked my supplies and saw there would only be enough water and fodder for the horses for two more days.

“I’m so glad you could join me,” Wodziwob said when I entered the cave again.

“It is the least I could do, under the circumstances. I must tell you, however, that our supplies will only allow us to stay until tomorrow. I think the Hopitu River is still a day away and I only have enough for the horses for two more days.”

“Never fear. Tomorrow I will show you something remarkable and your horses will want for nothing.”

I did not question him, but set about fixing our evening meal. After our meal, he again sang one of his songs. John seemed to like it, but eventually it put him to sleep. Cuauhtzin actually cooed along with it, something I never heard before. He fell silent, however, as soon as John was asleep. We sat in silence for some time after Wodziwob finished his song. Then he finally spoke.

“I think it is important that you give up your anger and resentment toward the one who tried to kill you.” “Those two fools? I have none to give up.”
“I mean the one who sent them.”

“That little viper! My wife and I showed him nothing but kindness and gave him the attention he never got from that disgusting mother of his. And just because the witch told him her fate was my fault, he turned on us and now is trying to kill not just me but my son who has done no harm to anyone.”

“Your hate will nourish his and just breed more such attempts.”
“How is that possible?”
“We are all intertwined. Whatever we think of another affects him and, ultimately, us.”
“I thought the Nuwu were warriors. This does not sound like the advice of a warrior.”
“I am a shaman, not a warrior. My advice is that of one who has spoken to the god.”

“My cousin, Khan Henry, the grandfather of the little wretch, believed that God was love and it was only by loving that one could communicate with him. He was murdered by the wretch’s father.”

“The Khan was a very wise man. He must have spent much time in meditation and communion with the god.” “But look what happened to him.”
“He is much happier now, and has no regrets.”
“How can you know that? How could someone be happy that his own son murdered him?” “Do you fear death?”
“No.”
“Why?”
“Because when I die I will be with my Carlotta. I would welcome it if I didn’t have to see to the boy.” “Do you resent the boy for keeping you from her?”

“No. He is a very sweet boy. There is much of her in him. And she has told me how much she loves him and how important he is to her, even now that she is gone.”

 

“It sounds like you have a keen understanding of love, so why would you waste time and drag yourself down with hate?”

“I have not even thought of the miscreant for years.”
“Your hostility is still quite fresh.”

“He just sent two fools to try to kill me and my son. Had it not been for your warning, they might have succeeded. For all I know, he has had me watched and there will be more attempts. My hostility isn’t still fresh; it has been renewed.”

“Did your wife have any hostility toward this boy?”
“No, she felt sorry for him.”
“Can you not share her compassion?”
“If she knew he was trying to kill me and John, she would no longer have any compassion for him.” “Are you so sure?”

“No. She seemed to have compassion for even the least deserving. When she comes to me in my dreams again, I will ask her.”

 

“Do so. If the boy had not tried to have you killed, would you still hate him?”

“I don’t think I ever actually hated him. But when he turned on us, I could tell that Carlotta was hurt by it— even though she had foreseen it. I resented the ingrate for hurting her, who had been more of a mother to him than his own.”

“Were you hurt by his rejection?”
“To be honest, I was indifferent. Until John came along, I never gave children much thought.” “But if she did not resent him, is it not presumptuous of you to resent him on her behalf?” “Is it not natural to be protective of those you love and wish ill on those who hurt them?”
“It is typical. But why sully your love with resentments and hatreds?”

“I will try not to think of him with hostility. I will try not to think of him at all. However, if any harm comes to John because of him, I will hunt down the little wretch and kill him without mercy.”

“If I can assure you he will not harm your boy, can you then give up your hostility?”
“I suppose so. Are you a seer?”
“Sometimes I see the future if the god wants me to see it.”
“And you foresee no harm coming to John from the Khan of Anahuac?”
“He will not be harmed by anyone.”
“How is that possible? Is he to die a child?”

“No, he will reach his manhood. He is a special child. When he is about six years old, you will meet the man who will instruct him. At that time you will give him up and move on by yourself. In time you will see him again.”

“I cannot imagine Carlotta wanting me to turn our boy over to a stranger. Perhaps you have seen incorrectly?” “No. It will be so. Your wife will approve when the time is right. It will not be easy for you, but you will see the necessity.”

“What sort of man will this be?”
“That was not given to me. But when the time comes, you will know.”

I did not like the sound of this at all and I was not at all convinced that he was right about John’s future. Only if one was to be a tribal shaman was he ever separated from his parents at such a young age. I could not imagine going along with such an idea. Of course, much had happened in my life that I could not previously imagine. After remaining in silent thought for a while, we both turned in for the night.

I awakened early and saw that John and Cuauhtzin were fine, but Wodziwob was missing. I stepped out of the cave and found him kneeling in quiet prayer, his eyes closed and his hands outstretched in front of him. I set about making breakfast as quietly as possible so as not to disturb him. I fed John and Cuauhtzin and tended the horses, but still he continued in his reverie. Finally he jumped up with far more agility than I would have expected from someone his age who had spent perhaps hours in an uncomfortable position, and said it was time to show me something special.

We got the horses, mounted up, and rode eastward toward another low mountain range, larger and running more or less parallel to the one with the cave. We reached the western edge and rode around to its far side. When we turned the corner, I was shocked still. Before me was a vast floral panorama in the middle of the desert. The horses immediately began to graze the fresh fodder, but I just looked on in awe. There were vibrant colors, especially reds and yellows, everywhere to the north and east, but in the west and south behind us was only desolation. When I regained my tongue and asked Wodziwob about it, he explained that when it rained enough, the desert bloomed. It had rained here a few days before. I mentioned that I had been told it was the rainy season in the desert, but I had not seen so much as a cloud. He agreed that it had been a rather dry rainy season so far, but it had rained in a few places and this was one of them.

There was no standing water anywhere that I could see, but with the horses taken care of, I told him we could probably stay another day if he wished. He told me he would like that. I asked him why he didn’t live in a village like most shamans do, so he can be available when needed. He replied that he always knew when he was needed in his village and would arrive in time to help. I decided not to ask how he managed that.

John very much enjoyed the riot of color after the rather austere landscape of the last week or so. He pointed and said the word flower and every color he recognized in each language he had learned without mixing them up. Cuauhtzin pranced about from my shoulder to my head to my other shoulder and lectured dramatically in Otomi. Wodziwob seemed to enjoy the spectacle. I finally remembered that he hadn’t eaten anything that morning, but he insisted he wasn’t hungry. In fact, he never did eat much in my presence and didn’t seem to have any food in his cave that I noticed. He did have a small water bag, but I had shaken it that morning and found it almost empty. Of course, this was none of my business.

We left the flowering valley in midafternoon and arrived at the cave not long before dusk. I prepared the evening meal. Once again he didn’t eat much, but afterward he sang again another long song in his language. Again both John and Cuauhtzin enjoyed it. It had a pleasant melody, I suppose, but I prefer songs I can understand. When he finished, John was asleep so I put him to bed and put Cuauhtzin on his stand watching over him. Then I returned to the fire and Wodziwob. We both sat quietly for a while; then he began to speak about many things.

He told me that his people had always lived in the rough dry mountain country. In ancient times they had migrated there for safety to be left in peace since it was the least desirable land. It had worked and they had flourished, eventually growing too large for their valleys in the northeast and migrating in all directions. Some went north to become the Nomo and the Newe; some went southwest to become the Kigzh, the Takhtam and the Kwawia. Some ventured a little to the south and became his people, the Nuwu. Some remained in place and became the Numu. He told me some of his people’s beliefs and how he had come to know which ones were true and which were correct. He explained that all beliefs are true but only in context. Some are also correct in any context. He was sure that if I examined my beliefs carefully, I would understand the distinction. We finally turned in rather late. The next day was exactly the same. I awakened to find him praying, quietly fixed breakfast, we went back to the flowering desert, we returned, we dined, he sang, and we talked. This time he wanted to know about my people. I told him what I knew. When I had finished he told me that before I died, I would travel to places none of my relatives had seen. Knowing the vast wanderings of my brother and father, I suspected he was wrong there. Again, we turned in late.

The following morning, I knew we would have to leave, so I quickly fixed our meal and got everything loaded up on the horses. I thought to leave Wodziwob some food and water, but as I was about to place it in a niche in the back of his cave, he entered and told me there was no point in doing so. He said he needed to return to his village now and would accompany me part of the way. I asked where his village was and he told me it was to the northeast. I offered to accompany him there, but he assured me it was not necessary, I should continue to the lands of the Tzinama-a and the river. It seemed that Hamakhava was just the name of one of their larger settlements. In the west it had come to be used as the name of the tribe.

We returned again to the flowering desert, and about halfway through it, he bid me farewell and turned toward the north. He told me to continue due east and I would reach the river well before dark. With much difficulty I had convinced him to take one of the horses. I had extras from my attackers and he could always sell or trade or give it away in his village if he didn’t want it. His eyes lit up when I said give, so I suppose I know what he was going to do with it. I watched him ride off for a few moments, then continued toward the east. The flowers gave out before too long and we returned to the dry desert. The ground began to slope downward, and not long after midday, I could see the river glinting in the sun before me. There had been an occasional tree in the desert, the odd-looking ones with green bark and no leaves, but I noticed that some of them were growing leaves as we got closer to the river. There was also a noticeable increase in shrubs and some flowers.

The river seemed to have limited bottomlands much as the upper reaches of the Mongol River. Here were the light wood trees one often found in the drier river valleys. As I drew nearer the river, I could see a lone house on my side of the river. It almost looked as though it was dug into a sand hill, but that was not possible. On closer examination, it proved to be made of logs covered with thatch and then covered with sand. The open door was facing south and as I passed by it was filled by a tall, slim but sturdy old man, with a dark brown complexion. He wore his hair long and loose and was dressed in a breechcloth and a short tunic of an indeterminable dark color. He greeted me in Mongol and invited me to visit. I turned aside and rode over to the house. I noticed there was a small corral with a single horse in it. I added my horses to the corral.

The house proved to be quite a large room inside, over twenty feet wide and almost as deep. In the center there were two transverse posts, and the logs that formed the roof of the house were arranged on these. The roof was banked to the floor except in the front. The floor was covered with sand. There were mats of woven bark that served as the door and as furniture. There were no tables, chairs or beds. There was a hearth near the door, but it was not lit. Near it were some pottery and a grinding stone. To the right were some larger pots and some baskets with stored food.

My host introduced himself as Ahalya’asma, a retired Tzinama-a warrior. He explained that his wife had died the year before and his children had long since married and moved away. He was delighted to have some company since it was quite rare for a traveler to pass this way. I asked why he lived in such an isolated spot and he said it was only half a day’s ride from the nearest settlement to the north. He had centli, beans, and squash, and I provided the dried meat and the chili to make us a fine meal. We topped it off with some nuts from a local pine tree that were quite good. Cuauhtzin particularly liked them. After dinner we sat near the fire and chatted.

“I can see that you are also a warrior,” he said.
“Well, I was some years ago.”

“It stays with you, doesn’t it? All of our young men go on campaign. It takes them away for at least five years, but most come back.”

“You fought in the Green Mist?”
“Yes. We fought some good warriors, fine-looking people. Of course, they didn’t really have a chance. Did you fight there also?”

“No, I fought in the Clouds against the Inka and their neighbors.”
“I heard we lost many in those battles.”
“My tumen was virtually wiped out.”
“You served in the Maya tumen?”
“Yes. I didn’t know their reputation had reached the Green Mist.”

“We all heard about them. They were fierce warriors, disdaining Mongol tactics and closing with the enemy. They usually took more casualties than any other tumen.”

“Quite true. At the time we were wiped out, we were already down to half strength. Of course, that was the idea. The tumen was always put in position to sustain heavy casualties. That way the young Maya men were too thinned out to stage any sort of revolt back in Anahuac.”

“Really? I had no idea. Why were you with them?”

 

“The Khan of Anahuac sincerely hoped I would have the decency to share their fate. Fortunately, he was disappointed.”

 

“You have made far more powerful enemies than I ever did.”

 

“To be honest, his difficulty with me was my fault, although I do think he could have let it be. His brother and I were good friends.”

“You are the most distinguished guest I have ever had the honor to entertain.”
“Actually, it would be best if you never mentioned my being here. I still have some implacable enemies.”

We traded a few stories about funny things that happened on campaign and finally turned in for the night. His mat was in the corner to the west of the door and he set John and me up in the center of the room. Cuauhtzin was judiciously set near the door, which was set up over the doorway once the hearth was extinguished. He prevailed on me to stay an extra day so he could accompany me part of the way north. He felt I should travel north a little over a day, then turn east along a fine river valley that climbs into the mountains. Along this way I would find grassland that I could follow all the way to the prairie in the east. It would provide ample forage for the horses and would be an easier path than the rugged mountains to the north or the desert to the south. I thought that made eminent sense.

He showed me around his little place. He would plant centli, beans, squash, and melons as soon as the river flooded, then subsided. He showed me his little plot. He used to plant a larger area to feed his family, but that was no longer necessary. We went down to the riverbank. The river was still shallow enough that we could swim the horses across easily. I asked when the river would flood and he said it was usually in mid spring probably still a week or two away. After he showed me around, we spent the rest of the day sitting on the riverbank and fishing. He told me that when he was younger he could grab the fish with his hands, but he was no longer quick enough. I told him that I had never been that quick.

We chatted about our families and the places we had seen. He seemed to know this whole area quite well for he had wandered around it quite a bit. Otherwise he tended to be a bit sketchy. All he remembered about the east was that there was grassland and then forest and many great rivers. All he remembered about the Green Mist was that it took a long time to reach and was hot, damp and very green. I often noticed how many veterans of the campaigns had no idea or interest in just where they had been. Meanwhile, our efforts were rewarded and we had fresh fish for dinner.

The next morning we set out together after breakfast. The horses swam across the river without incident. We made our way northward along the bank and a little after midday came upon a rather scattered settlement of houses above the floodplain of the river. I could even see a few houses on the west bank. Ahalya’asma prevailed on me to spend the night with him and his old warrior friend and his wife so we could swap some more stories. We spent the rest of the afternoon fishing and did not come to our hosts empty handed. I can’t remember his friend’s name, but it was even harder to pronounce than his. In any case, we had a good time talking into the night.

The next morning after breakfast, some final directions, and well wishes, we set off northward. The river seemed to be coming from the northeast along this part. About midafternoon we came to the river flowing into the Hopitu from the east. It looked like a very pleasant valley and I eagerly turned east. I noticed that it joined the Hopitu at a point where it turns from running southeast to southwest. This little valley reminded me of valleys in the east teeming with wildlife. I had been cautioned that it was a popular hunting ground for the Tzinama-a near the mouth and for their neighbors the Kuweveka paiya farther upstream. This latter tribe was much like the Tzinama-a although they tended to live in the higher valleys.

It was a beautiful valley. It gradually sloped upward to a sort of plateau where I found the promised grassland on the second day. I came across several hunting parties in the valley, but we ignored each other in the timehonored tradition of hunters. There were no settlements in the grassland, but I would occasionally pass a group of hunters or travelers along the way. There were no yams or even clear paths to follow, but, as directed, I held to a slightly south of east track. Occasionally I would have to turn north to avoid a patch of desert and occasionally I would have to skirt around a mountain range or ride through a pine or even oak wood, but generally there was grass for the horses all the way through to the prairie. It was often quite beautiful as well since it was still spring when I first reached it and there were yet some flowers blooming.

It took until well into summer to reach the prairie, and along the path, we finally encountered some yams, although they seemed almost random since they were on trade routes and I was going in a general direction. We passed from the lands of the Kuweveka paiya to those of the A’-a’tam, the A’shiwi, the Hopitu-shinumu, the K’eres, and the Ti’wan before reaching the prairie and eventually the Titskan Watitch. Our path went through the remoter edges of the lands of most of these people and we rarely saw any settlements and those were some distance off our path. I didn’t really want to visit the towns along the way since I was really enjoying camping under the stars with John and Cuauhtzin. I suppose this was shortsighted of me since I understand the towns are quite remarkable and I never had the occasion to return there.

When we finally reached the prairie we still had some distance to go to reach the Pelican Ordu. In fact, it took until midsummer to reach the Ishak River and a few days along it until I found the Ordu. Mathilde and Aspenquid were relieved to see us. They had no idea where we were or if any ill had befallen us. I explained that I had to wait out winter in the warmer climate along the coast and it took all of spring and half of summer to get here from there. I did not tell them about the attempted ambush. They made a big fuss over John and how tall he had grown. I noticed how much Little Carlotta had grown. To my surprise, she recognized me immediately and insisted on being picked up and carried about. John did not seem to mind, but ran along beside us. Cuauhtzin was not pleased, however, and transferred to John, much to his delight.

They brought me up to date on their children. Aju had returned, but then had gone off again this spring. Paula was still awaiting her husband’s return from campaign, and Bedagi had written that he should be home late in the winter. Sarah and her husband had transferred to the Alligator Ordu, but she wrote often, and her first child had been a boy and was a healthy one-year-old. My brother Theodore had breezed through late in the spring, but she had no idea where he was now. He had assured them that I was fine and on my way back. I wondered how he had known that. I found myself wondering which of the people I met along the way had been his informers.

Before dinner that evening, Aspenquid told me that there were some letters for me at headquarters. They were from a high-ranking official so I had to pick them up myself. I wandered over and presented myself to the aidede-camp. He stood and saluted and handed me the packet. I thanked him and returned to the tent. They proved to be from Watomika and Luis. The former’s letter just introduced the latter’s and wished me well. Luis’ letter was written in Euskera so it took me a while to read it. I remember wishing he had written in Latin. But it included a map of Europa with lands of the Eskualdunac, Bayern, the Black Forest, and Innsbruck marked in red ink and all the other countries marked in black ink. The only problem with the map was that I could not figure out what the scale was. There was a note about legua, but I didn’t know what that meant.

The letter mentioned that he had found the map and with a judicious bribe was allowed to copy it. He apologized that he was not a better draftsman, but assured me he had been quite careful. He thoughtfully asked after John and my relatives, then launched into the same report he had given the Khakhan. It seemed that the civil war in Gaztela was still raging, but the advantage had shifted to Queen Isabella after the defeat of Alfonso of Portugal at the Battle of Toro the previous year, ending Alfonso’s intervention. Civil war continued in Ingalaterra, but Eduardo the Fourth seemed to have things well in hand. His one time ally, Carlos Ausarti of the Ardangori, was killed in battle against the Suizos. Carlos had recaptured the city of Granson on their frontier early the previous year and had hanged the entire Suizos garrison. Bent on revenge, the Suizos attacked his army near the city and routed them. Later in the year Carlos again moved against the Suizos at Morat, another of his cities occupied by them. Again his men were routed with heavy losses. Finally early this year, the Suizos advanced into Ardangori territory and Carlos met them at Nancy. Once more his army was totally defeated and he was killed covering their retreat. Poloinia and Hungaria were still fighting over Bohemia, although Poloinia also had repelled an invasion by the Ottoman Empire last year. Venezia, however, was definitely losing its war with the Ottomans. The people of Europa were certainly a contentious lot. At least we confined our wars to the far south. Of course, we had never really had a civil war—yet.

I answered Luis’ letter and sent it off quickly in the hope that he would get it before he left for home. I thanked him for the map and for keeping me informed and asked him about the scale of the map. Whatever the scale, it looked like Euzkadi was a rather small area—smaller than the Black Forest. The Holy Roman Empire looked quite large, but seemed to have a number of entities within it. It was a little confusing. He indicated where Venezia had lost territory to the Ottomans. They seemed to have been driven from the east coast of the deep bay at the end of which was their city.

I decided to spend the winter with Mathilde and Aspenquid since it was a little late in the summer to go wandering around the countryside looking for relatives. So I settled down and helped Aspenquid lay in some meat for the winter. I also did some fishing in the river to add a little variety. I usually took John and Little Carlotta with me fishing. They were not much help, but they kept me from thinking too much. I was very much bothered by Wodziwob’s version of John’s future and it kept gnawing at me. Finally I decided to take a few days and see if I could confer with my spirit guide and perhaps even Carlotta.

I rode off alone toward the south down to the shore of the sea. Once I reached the sea, I rode a little toward the east and found a shady spot where I could tie up the horses. Then I moved off a little distance and sat down and stared at the sea. The gentle motion of the waves washing the shore soon placed me in my meadow with my guide. I sought the guidance I needed, but he deferred to Carlotta, who also finally appeared. She looked radiant, shinning so brightly it was hard to look at her. She told me that Wodziwob had spoken truly and that I would have to give John up when he was six. Until then, I must teach him all I could to ensure that he would always have a part of me in him. She also assured me that she did not have any hostility toward Khan John and urged me to only think of him with compassion remembering the unfortunate fact of his parents. I told her I would try and urged her to stay close to me. She said she always was close to John and me and always would be. I thanked her and my guide and woke up at dusk. The next morning I returned home and concentrated on teaching John how to read and write, young as he was.

Reading came quickly to him, but writing was more of a challenge. Little Carlotta immediately joined in the task and was very helpful. He could not understand why everyone didn’t use the same writing and felt that the Latin letters were easier than the Uighur script. I suppose he was right, but I had found them both easy once I had learned them. Of course, I had been a little older than he was. By the end of the winter, he was reading and writing very capably. I had him write a short letter in Mongol to each of the relatives we had visited the year before. He was quite excited when the replies arrived and immediately wrote back.

Bedagi and Theodore both arrived late in the winter within a few days of each other. Bedagi looked rather haggard from the long trip and had little to say. He rested a few days, then took off again to wander toward the west. Theodore also looked a bit the worse for wear when he arrived. He admitted that all the travel was finally getting to him and he would no longer travel in the winter. He and Mahwissa had found a nice spot among the Pansfalaya where they would settle down more or less permanently. He had just come from there. His son John was now a fully qualified healer and was wandering around much like he had done in his youth. Sarah had had her second child, a girl, the year before and all were doing well the last time he saw them—last summer. Paula was still with Nizhevoss. He felt she should move on, but she preferred to stay with him.

I asked him what the Khakhan had wanted with him the last time we had spoken. He replied that he could only tell me that when we were alone. The next day while in a sweat bath he told me that the Khakhan had asked him which of his sons he thought should succeed him! I could not imagine him asking anyone, let alone Theodore, such a thing. Theodore was also taken aback by the question, but the Khakhan had insisted, assuring him that he respected his opinion above that of his advisors. Theodore told him that Juchi would be the best of the three. While he needed to mature a little, and he could not compare with his father, he was much better than the other two. Berke was basically a decent man but had so separated himself from things that he was out of touch. Toragana would have best been strangled in his crib.

“You really told him that?” I was shocked.

 

“Yes. He had to admit I had a point. He also agreed completely with my assessment of his sons. I’m glad he didn’t ask me about his late daughter.”

 

“The witch finally died?”

 

“Oh yes, she eventually threw herself off the cliffs of Amona. The people who had to bring her food found her body. They buried her on the island.”

 

“Were they certain it was her?”

 

“The birds had eaten their fill of her, but there was no one else on the island, and there has been no sighting of her anywhere. I’m sure it was she. I can’t imagine anyone saving her.”

 

“When did this happen?”

“In the summer about two years ago. There had been one of those hurakan storms and the supplies had been delayed several days. She probably thought she had been abandoned or she may have fallen accidentally. We’ll never know.”

I told him about the attempt on my life at the behest of her son, and how I had been warned and then advised by Wodziwob. He told me that the advice was sound; I should never hate my enemies or anyone else for that matter. I was a bit amazed at this coming from my deep-in-intrigue brother, but on reflection I don’t ever recall him expressing hate for anybody. I told him about Wodziwob’s prediction for John and Carlotta’s endorsement of it. He told me that he was not surprised; he always thought that John was a very special child and expected great things from him. I didn’t know what to say about that. I just hoped he lived a good, happy life. I then asked him if he had any idea how the assassins knew where to find me. He gave that some thought, but had to admit he didn’t know. He added that he would try and find out. Theodore left after a short stay.

43
Egwani and Ayun’ini, 110 K
(SE LA to Shenandoah Valley, 1478)

I decided to take John to visit the much fewer eastern relatives that year and we set out about mid spring. I headed north first, thinking to end up in the south in the winter. I returned to my special meadow again and found that indeed someone had settled there, although not in my particular spot. I camped there for a few days again and told John all about his mother. He listened intently and added some things of which I hadn’t thought to tell him. I did not have to worry about him forgetting her.

We next moved on to Murenbalikh. As we crossed the bridge across the Missi Sipi River, I told John how, while I had been on Nanih Waiya, I had seen, in a vision, his mother and Hiacoomes crossing this very bridge. He told me he wanted to go back to Nanih Waiya. I promised we would, although I couldn’t believe he remembered being there when he was only a year old. Murenbalikh had not changed much since the last time I was there. It was perhaps a little more spread out, but not much. We spent the night there and moved on east. John did not seem interested in the city, but spent his time looking at the people. Since he was riding on his own now, I found I had to keep an eye on him since he tended to wander off or fall back. As we left the city, he told me that there seemed to be a lot of unhappy people there.

“What makes you think that?” I asked.
“Can’t you see the dark clouds around them?”
“No. Do I have a dark cloud around me?”
“Oh no, Agidodah. Your cloud is bright blue, but a little thin.”
“Do you see these clouds around everyone?”
“Yes, unless they are dead.”
“When did you see a dead person?”
“At the Ordu, Carlotta showed me.”
“Does she see clouds around people also?”
“No. She got angry when I talked about it, so I told her I just had something in my eye.”
“What color is her cloud?”
“Usually red, but sometimes orange and yellow.”
“What about you? Do you have a cloud?”
“Yes, but mine is only white like the ones in the sky. At least that’s all I can see on my arms and legs.” “Do only people have these clouds?”

“No, plants and animals also. The plants can be white, purple, blue and yellow, but usually not red. Animals tend to be more red, but they have other colors too. Cuauhtzin has mostly blue or red, but sometimes he is yellow and even green.”

“Do you know what these colors mean?”

 

“Not entirely, but blue is usually calm, red is busy or angry or loving. Many people are red around the heart. You are sometimes when you think of Agi’tsi-i. I’m sure I am too, but I can’t see it.”

“Doesn’t seeing all these colors make it difficult to see individuals?”
“In a crowd it can be, but I don’t mind. The colors can be so beautiful.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of this ability of his, but decided it should not be discouraged. Instead, I tried to help him understand what he was seeing since it seemed be some sort of emanation that indicated a person’s frame of mind. I had no idea what it would mean in a plant or animal. I also suggested that he speak of this to no one but me, since it would likely elicit reactions just like that of his cousin. He agreed, but it seemed to make him a little sad.

We often camped out rather than use the yam system and I noticed that he would often be lost in thought. Still he was very attentive at his lessons and had a better ear than I did for languages. He picked up quite a bit of Wazhazhe in the few weeks we were among them and even learned one of the Mingue dialects and his mother’s native Wampanoag as we traveled east. Since we had so few relatives in the east, I decided to visit Yangzi and call on Watomika and perhaps, Luis. It was a week or so after the summer solstice that we arrived.

I presented myself at the governor’s palace and asked to see Watomika. We were ushered into the usual room and asked to wait. Eventually the officious assistant arrived to look us over. He had his usual expression as if he had been asked to inspect an overused latrine. Eventually he recognized me and asked me to wait a bit more. A few moments later, he exploded back into the room and bowed me into the presence of the governor. “What a pleasant surprise!” Watomika greeted me. “I have already sent off your letter from your friend. I’m afraid he is back with his fellows fishing already. Is this your son?”

“Yes, Excellency. This is John.”
“A pleasure to meet you, my boy. How old are you?”
“I am four, Excellency,” he answered. “It is an honor to meet you.”
“Such a fine young man. Will you be a great soldier like your father?”
“I don’t think so, Excellency, but I’m not yet sure.”
“And so mature. You do let him play with other children, don’t you?” He fixed me with a perplexed look. “Of course. He has always been allowed to be a child.”

“Good, one usually only finds such maturity in children who spend all their time with adults. That is not healthy, a childhood should have wonderful memories.”

 

“I agree, Excellency.”

“Anyway, I have noticed that our children seem to go their own way rather than follow ours. After all, your grandfather was a Khan and your father a healer. My grandfather was a warrior and my father a merchant. I suppose that is how it should be. Still, this child is remarkable.”

“Thank you, Excellency.”

He sat us down and gave a thumbnail sketch of Luis’ report. We then chatted about things in the Khanate and he informed me that he had just heard that the Khakhan’s youngest son Toragana had met an untimely end. It seemed that he was accidentally shot with a hail of arrows during a training exercise. Theodore was now the regent for his nephew. I acted surprised and expressed the appropriate regret for the dreadful occurrence. John was staring at me with a puzzled look, but Watomika didn’t notice. He also seemed to be reporting something that had surprised him. When we rose to leave, he asked if I wanted to be taken out to Luis’ ship, but I decided not to take John out on the open ocean like that. A little one like him could so easily slip overboard. Besides, I was sure I would see Luis another time. I was wrong there.

Once we left the governor’s residence, John asked me why I hid the fact that I already knew about Toragana’s death. I explained that I didn’t exactly know about it, but I did expect it. He wanted to know why. I told him that his uncle Theodore had suggested that it was likely the Khakhan would order some harm on his son. John was shocked and asked why. I lamely explained that rulers sometimes had to make difficult decisions for the good of their people. Sometimes that included getting rid of a potentially dangerous relative who could do much harm to the people. He expressed relief that I was not a Khan. I echoed that sentiment.

We moved south the next morning. I decided to take John to see his mother’s birthplace, Capawake. I explained my trip there the year he was born and how it was different from when she lived there. Even so, he was eager to visit it. A few days later, I found the same small path leading southeast from the trade road. The yam from where I originally had been directed to the path was just in sight to the west. We were still on the path when night fell and we had to camp. About midmorning we came upon the coastal trail and could see the remains of the little village that had been there four years before. It looked as though it had been abandoned shortly after my last visit. By nightfall we reached the other village across from Capawake. I was relieved to see it was still inhabited.

With some difficulty I found someone who was willing to take us to the island the next morning, and his wife was willing to watch the horses for me, both services for a fee, of course. We camped out on the beach, not wishing to impose on such grudging hospitality. The next morning just at daylight our villager presented himself and again I helped row us across while keeping a sharp eye on John. Cuauhtzin was not at all sure about the boat and only came with us reluctantly. He remained firmly clamped on my shoulder, and muttered vaguely in Otomi every so often. We were put ashore and the man promised to return for us after two days, but we would have to share the boat with his catch.
We set off down the beach toward the west until I found the trail at the western end of the island. We were on it when it got dark and we camped under the stars. The next day we came upon Carlotta’s little village of Nashanekammuck a little after midday. It, too, had been abandoned. The few houses that had been there four years before were now in ruins. I showed John the site I had been told had been Hiacoomes’ house and told him that this was where his mother had been born.

“No, she was born over here.” He led me to another nearby site. “That was where her great-grandfather lived. She was born here. She grew up there.”

I didn’t ask how he knew and I didn’t doubt it either. He pointed out the spots where she had been born and where her parents had been buried. He told me much more than the villagers had been able to tell me four years before. He spoke as though he was describing the Pelican Ordu where he had spent so much of his life. I was beginning to wonder about him. Was he to be a seer? If so, would he be happy? I hoped so. I have never found seers to be happy. Sometime knowing too much is worse than knowing nothing.

We didn’t have time to tarry, and rather than try to find the path that had led me to the north coast of the island before, I decided to retrace our path. We left the site around midafternoon and reached our drop-off point late the next day. Our ride showed up and, as promised, we had to share the boat with his considerable catch. I congratulated him on his good fortune, and helped row back to the mainland. We arrived a little before dusk, I retrieved the horses, and we rode back until darkness overtook us, and we camped for the night. We returned to the trade road and followed it west all the way to Zheng He. I showed John around the bustling town and the busy port. Once again he focused on the people. This time he found them tense, busy, caught up in their thoughts. I was relieved that no strange person approached me with a message this time.

We left Zheng He the next day and crossed the Leni lenape River on the fairly new suspension bridge at the north end of the island. It was quite a long bridge, but seemed quite secure and stable. Once across, I decided to go inland toward and across the Kubilai River and then over the mountains to the valley that would lead us to Itsati. I had never gone this way before, but I had heard of the valley and wondered what it was like. The river in the lower or northern part of the valley had been named the North Ani’ Yun’-wiya River, no doubt because the river that should have been named for the tribe, the West Tsoyaha, already had a name. Also, the South Ani’ Yun’-wiya was not much of a river to be named for such a large tribe. It proved to be a prophetic naming since over the years the Ani’ Yun’-wiya began moving north into the valley eventually reaching the headwaters of the river about twenty years before my visit.

It took twelve days to reach the mouth of the North Ani’ Yun’-wiya. It emptied into the Potomac, which was easily fordable at this time of year. I noticed along the way that the Leni lenape had spread all along the Chingis River as well as most of the Kubilai, leaving the Kanastoge on the headwaters of the latter which at one time they had completely dominated. The Kanastoge had retained their identity and language even though they were limited to a few towns. All things considered, it was remarkable that there were any of them left from the accounts of the war a hundred years before.

The mouth of the Ani’ Yun’-wiya was not inhabited, and frankly, it was not surprising since it had dreadfully rocky soil. The river was rather shallow so I suspected it flooded whenever there was a heavy rain. Still, it was pleasantly warm rather than hot and sticky as it would have been along the coast. We rode along the eastern edge of the valley. There was a strange long ridge that bisected both the valley and the river, and at the south end of it, there was a small Ani’ Yun’-wiya village. We stopped there and visited with a friendly family. Their parents had come north from a village three days’ ride down the valley. Originally their ancestors had been from Itsati, and they asked me to give their regards to some of their relatives when we got there.

The next day we were riding along late in the day when we heard a woman singing. The language of the song was Ani’ Yun’-wiya, but was not any of the ritual songs I knew. It had a beautiful melody and she had a voice to match it. We followed the sound to a camp along the riverbank. The woman proved to be very young, not much more than a girl. She stood on the bank looking out over the river and sang her song oblivious to everything around her. She did not seem to hear our approach. We dismounted, tied up the horses, and sat down on the ground to listen. Her song was long and seemed to be an involved story about a family that had been banished from their village and had traveled far and wide. It poetically described the sights they had seen. I remember how it called the Missi Sipi “flowing earth shinning brilliantly in the sun, hiding all it washed before it under its turbid surface.” A bit overdone perhaps, but it did bring the river to mind for me.

When she finished, she knelt down on the bank and began one of the all-too-familiar washing rituals. Upon finishing she turned and saw us. She was both surprised and embarrassed but did not turn to leave. Instead she invited us to join her for the evening meal. I rose, praised her song and her voice, introduced us, and offered to add our food to the pot. She graciously accepted some dried meat and centli and added it to her stew. She silently tended it until it was ready; then she served it. We ate quietly, and when we finished, I asked her who she was and why she was here all alone. She explained that she was named Egwani because her parents wanted her to flow freely like a river always wandering, never staying in one place for long. She and her parents had done just that wandering all over the Khanate. Her parents had died in the far north when they were trapped for days by a blizzard and ran out of food. She had gone on to get help, but when she returned she found them dead. She had decided to go on alone.

“You are so young and a woman and many areas in the Khanate, especially in the far north are rough. How did you survive?” I asked.

“I know how to avoid being seen. Had I not been singing, you would never have found me.” “I have never heard such singing. Where did you learn it?”
“My parents liked to sing and taught me. I made up the song you heard myself.”
“It was so beautiful!”
“It sounded like the sky music,” John commented.
“Sky music?” I asked. Egwani also looked puzzled.
“Yes,” John replied enthusiastically. “The music you hear in the sky.”
“You travel in the dream world?” she asked.

“Is that what it’s called? When I go to visit Agi’tsi-i, I hear the music. It is so beautiful that sometimes she has to come and get me.”

“His mother is dead?” she asked me.
“Yes, she died when he was born.”

“I also visit my parents in the dream world.” She turned to John. “My music is only a little like that. I could not possibly make that sound.”

 

“But it is like it,” John insisted.

She began to sing again without words, only sounds and John joined her. His clear bright voice was the equal to hers and I was shocked by the easy way they blended their voices to the unearthly music. Finally I was transported by it and lost in it. When they stopped I felt such a sense of longing to return to the song that my heart ached. They were both lost in their reverie so I got up and tended the fire. I noticed that Cuauhtzin was completely quiet and had flown over to sit on the ground next to them. As the night deepened I could see the reflection of animals’ eyes at the edge of the forest. I armed myself, but they made no move to advance and gradually moved away.

John and Egwani remained sitting and not moving, so I picked John up and laid him under his blanket, then put Egwani’s blanket over her shoulders and gently eased her into a more comfortable position. I put Cuauhtzin on his perch next to John, and after stirring up the fire a little more, I turned in.

The next morning I woke to find Egwani doing the purification rite in the river. She already had a pot on the fire warming up some centli mush. I got John up and we joined her in the rite. When we finished, she served up breakfast and we ate quietly for a while. John finally broke the silence.

“If you come with us,” he said, “we’ll take you to him.”
“You know him?” she asked.

“In a way,” he replied. “Agi’tsi-i brought me to meet him in the dream world. He told me where he was. It is not far from here.”

 

“Oh, that would be wonderful! My heart told me he was here, but I didn’t know where and was going to wander all over the valley until I found him.”

“About whom are you talking?” I interjected.
“Ayun’ini,” John answered cheerfully. “I can’t wait to meet him on the earth.”
“Is that his name?” Egwani asked. “I never knew. How soon will we reach him?”
“Tomorrow,” John answered eagerly. “He’s only that far away and he’s waiting for us.”
“Who is this Ayun’ini?” I asked wearily.
“A wonderful teacher!” they both answered together, then laughed.
“And you both met him in this ‘dream world’ of yours?”
“I never met him, but my parents told me about him,” Egwani said.
“I met him when Agi’tsi-i introduced us. He goes there to learn like I do.”
“And he is on our way to Itsati?”
“Yes, as long as we stay on this side of the valley, we’ll find him tomorrow evening.”

Egwani agreed to come along with us. Since she didn’t have a horse, I let her use one of mine. As we rode south, she and John chatted enthusiastically about what they had “seen” in their “dream world” while I rode along quietly. It all made me feel a bit awkward, much like a fresh recruit would feel among veterans, I suppose. But I was determined to let John be what he would be without my interference. I wanted him to be happy and this certainly seemed to make him happy. I tried to listen to their conversation, but I had no idea what they were talking about. Cuauhtzin remained with me, occasionally muttering something.

Early the next day we left the North Ani’ Yun’-wiya near its source and around midday came upon another river flowing southwest. Most of the towns and villages were west of our path in the central part of the valley, but we did pass along the fields of some of them and occasionally came upon a hunting party. At Egwani’s request we did not stop to talk to anyone and other than some cheerful waves no one bothered us. Late in the day we came upon a small camp where another river joined the one we were following from the northwest. When I saw the other river, I realized that we were on the upper reaches of the Powhatan River.

The camp was in a small clearing a little nearer to the other river. There was a fire with a pot on it and a lone man tending the fire. As we drew near, I could see that he was younger than I and almost as tall. He was thin and bearded and wore his hair long and loose. He was clothed in unadorned white cotton shirt and loincloth and wore no shoes. I could see no horse anywhere. As we pulled up and dismounted, he rose and turned to greet us.

“At last we meet, honored guests,” he said.
“You are Ayun’ini?” I asked.
“I am,” he replied.
“It seems both this young lady and my son have been looking forward to meeting you.”
“And I, them. Welcome friends, it is a joy to see you.”

Egwani and John both ran over to him and embraced him. This was a very untypical thing to do among our people. The odd clap on the back, grasp of the arm, or pat on the shoulder was the most one would do to a stranger. Embracing was limited to husband and wife and child and parent or grandparent. I tied up the horses and approached warily as the three clung to each other like drowning men to a lifeline. Suddenly in the fading light, I saw a glow around them as if they shone like the moon. When they parted, I saw that the glow remained with all three, but it faded gradually. I did not know what to make of this at all. Cuauhtzin clung tightly to my shoulder and did not make a sound. Ayun’ini asked us all to sit and served us a bowl of centli soup fortified with some sort of roots and herbs giving it an interesting taste and making it quite filling.

“You are wondering about me, Crow.” He turned to me after dinner. “Let me tell you about myself. My father was Ani’ Yun’-wiya and my mother was Dzitsiista. She was a cousin of your brother’s wife. She met my father when he returned from campaign and wandered around the Khanate. He was originally from the town of Tunessee. I’m sure you know it. My parents stayed among the Dzitsiista until I was about five years old; then they began to wander first the North Country, then the southwest. They died when I was about ten years old. We were crossing the Hopitu River below the great bend when a flash flood caught us in midstream and swept us downriver. I managed to cling to a branch and finally was rescued by some Tzinama-a who pulled my battered body from the water and nursed me back to health. My parents and younger sisters were never found. When I was twelve, I left the Tzinama-a and walked eastward to follow a strange urging I had. It led me to a place in the Hopitu-shinumu lands. It was different from any other place I had ever been. There were creeks, pine forests, canyons, and, towering over all, tall red rocks in majestic shapes. During the day they changed colors from violet to red to orange to rust. I stayed, knowing I was where I belonged. I remained there until two years ago when I began wandering again, eventually reaching here.”

“You remained in that place all those years alone?”

“There were some ruins, but no one else lived there until about a year after I arrived. At that time a man came upon me while I was meditating along the side of a creek. He waited until I finished, then told me he had been sent to teach me. I studied with him for three years; then he left and returned to his people.”

“Who was he?”
“His name was Sintana; he belonged to a tribe called Tairona.”

“Tairona? They live in the Khanate of the Clouds. I never heard of them wandering around. What was he doing there?”

“He told me that Gualchovang sent him to teach me.”
“Who is that?”

“She is their goddess. She is a sort of earth mother not unlike our Selu, I suppose, although they see her as more like our Asga-Ya-Galun-lati.”

 

“They have a female creator?”

 

“They revere the earth and consider themselves guardians of it. I suppose it is only natural that they would consider the earth female. Most of the people in the Khanate call the earth ‘mother.’ ”

 

“But the earth is not usually considered the creator, only the nurturer. Usually the sun or the sky or some sort of spirit is considered the creator.”

 

“That is true. He didn’t try to convert me to his beliefs; he only spoke of them when I asked. He didn’t think it mattered what we believe, since an omnipotent god could not be offended by his creations.” “Most belief systems hold that gods can be offended. In the Valley of Anahuac most of the people felt they had to feed the gods human hearts or they would die and the world would end.”

“Well, we Ani’ Yun’-wiya know better than that, don’t we?”
“If this man didn’t teach you his beliefs, what did he teach you?”
“He taught me how to visit the dream world and guided me through it so I could learn the truth.” “The truth?”
“Perhaps it is better to call it, the real.”
“And that is?”
“It is a long story, probably more than you want to hear now.”
“Is that what you propose to teach my son when I turn him over to you?”

“He already knows that, although he would likely find it hard to explain it. I will simply guide him while he teaches himself. In reality, he doesn’t need me, but I can help. I will be honored to do so when the time is right.”

“And Egwani? What can you do for her?”
“The same for as long as she wants me to do so. It is an honor to help her as well.”

“To be honest with you, if his mother had not assured me it was the best thing for him, I would never turn him over to you.”

 

“No, of course not. I am not a shaman and he is not to be one. But be assured when he does come to stay with me, I will only help, I will not try to change him.”

“Is there anything he should be learning over the next couple of years?”
“Whatever you think he should know.”
“Where will you be two years from now?”
“I will come to you at the right time. As it is, my heart will be with John, so I will easily find you.”

Ayun’ini invited us to join him in meditation. John and Egwani eagerly agreed and I politely joined them. From their faces I could see that they were in another world, but I was distracted by my thoughts. I wondered at the practicality of turning my son over to this wandering holy man with no weapons or visible means of support. While one could live off the land much of the year—what about the winter? I wondered about the safety of the girl, Egwani, for whom I had begun to feel responsible. Even if they met no evil people, there were wild animals that could attack them, nature could turn on them, or some disease could overcome them. The lifestyle seemed not just impractical, but reckless. I decided I needed a good deal more reassurance from Carlotta. I gave up on the meditation and walked over to the river and sat on the bank absently watching its sluggish flow in the silvery moonlight.

After a while I rose and walked around the perimeter of the camp for a time. On my third circuit I heard an unmistakable huffing and the noisy shambling of a bear nearby. I moved quietly to the horses and drew my bow. The sound drew closer along the river. I moved over to intercept it, notching an arrow as I went. The bear shuffled into view on our side of the river. I kept the arrow trained on him should he make a move toward the meditators or the horses, but he was more interested in the river, leading me to think he was perhaps fishing in the moonlight. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“He means no harm, Crow,” Ayun’ini whispered.

He walked over to the bear and it turned toward him at his approach. They seemed to be staring at each other for a few minutes, and then the bear crossed the river and moved off downstream at a good pace. Ayun’ini returned to me.

“I told him where there was a large berry patch,” he told me with a broad smile. “Bears can’t resist a temptation like that.”

“I didn’t hear a sound.”
“Animals talk in images. I just projected an image of the berry patch and the path there to him.” “You can talk to animals?”
“Anyone can if they take the time.”
“Perhaps you can ask Cuauhtzin why he only speaks in Otomi.”
“I’ll ask him tomorrow. He’s sleeping.”
“Good idea, I think I’ll join him.”

We turned in for the night, although John and Egwani had to be put to bed since they were still lost in their meditation. It took me a while to fall asleep since I was still wondering about Ayun’ini. He seemed to have some control over wild animals, but what about nature? Could he talk to the wind or the floodwaters or the wildfire? Somehow, I didn’t think so.

The next morning I awakened to find Ayun’ini shaking me. He told me that we had to move our camp. He knew of a cave nearby which we could reach before the rain began. I looked up at the cloudless dawn sky, rose up, and smelled the air. I could detect no hint that it would rain. There was no breeze and it was already rather humid. Still I decided to keep my misgivings to myself and see if he was right.

We ate quickly and crossed the river moving first south along its bank, then east up into the mountains. Along about midmorning, the wind picked up and I could smell the rain. Dark clouds were beginning to pile up in the west and move toward us. By midday Ayun’ini led us in a scramble up over a hill and on its far side led us to a cave. It was large enough for the horses, so we all went in just as the first large drops began to fall.

“How did you know it was going to rain? None of the signs were there until midmorning?” I asked. “It is a skill Sintana taught me. This rain will last until nightfall and will flood all the streams. We should stay here until tomorrow.”

“Can you detect wildfires in time to avoid them, also?”
“Yes.”
“What about disease?”
“I have never been ill since I met Sintana.”
“You know where you might encounter the sick and avoid them?”
“No, I always do what I can for the sick, but I do not catch their sickness.”
“Even my father would occasionally come down with the illnesses he was treating. How do you avoid it?” “I have complete control over my body, nothing enters it without my leave.”
“And you can teach these skills to Egwani and John?”
“Of course.”
“What about evil people? Do you know to avoid them?”
“There are very few truly evil people and they tend to avoid me.”
“You never met my cousins George and George, or Chabi and Toragana, for that matter.”

“Selfish, self-absorbed people may seem to be evil, but they are really just confused. They are in a beautiful forest, but all they can see is a blade of grass and that’s all they focus on. They are more to be pitied than condemned. The condition is compounded when such people have power since they surround themselves with equally misguided people who worship power rather than God and do everything to reinforce the selfishness and self-absorption.”

“You are most kind. Perhaps you would be less so had you ever met them. Three of them have tried to kill me.” “But you do not fear death, do you?”
“No.”
“Then why should you care if they try to kill you?”
“Chabi intended harm to my wife as well as me.”

“But she was not successful and suffered greatly for the attempt. You need not waste any more animosity on her.”

“She managed to turn her son against me also. His feeble attempts against me remind me of her perfidy.” “You have been told he will not harm John. I can assure you that he will not harm anyone else dear to you. So now you can forget about him also.”

“You are a seer?”

“Sometimes. The boy Khan is very conflicted. He feels a perverse loyalty to his mother and father, but he loves his uncle who has been both mother and father to him most of his life. Eventually the uncle will lead him to the truth. Especially now that the uncle is also regent.”

“My cousin Theodore is a good man.”

 

“Yes, he is. By the way, Cuauhtzin speaks Otomi because he likes the sound of the language. He doesn’t like Nahual or Ani’ Yun’-wiya.”

“Does he know what he is saying?”
“No, the words are like toys for him; he plays with them.”

I decided not to pursue that. Just as Ayun’ini had predicted, it rained heavily, but stopped at dusk. Looking out of the cave, I could see that the nearby streams had turned into rivers. By the next morning, things had settled down a bit, and I suggested we should be on our way since we had some distance to travel before winter and it was already late summer. I took Egwani aside and made sure she wanted to stay with Ayun’ini. She did. I then took Ayun’ini aside and asked if he wanted two of my horses and some supplies to ease his travel. He didn’t. He promised to find us in a couple of years and wished me inner peace. John and I rode westward back into the valley and then turned south.

44
More Wandering with John, 110 K
(W. VA to N. C. MS, 1478)

South of the Powhatan, the intermountain area was hard to call a valley—it looked more like a plateau. As we continued south, the plateau constricted into parallel gorges of varying breadth. At decent intervals all along our path, we encountered Ani’ Yun’-wiya villages and towns. Finally just as fall was in the air, we arrived at Itsati. Iskagua and Ghigooie made a big fuss over John, and Gatagewi and his family also came over to visit. Iskagua had all but retired as shaman leaving most of the work to Gatagewi. I was surprised at how old he and Ghigooie looked. It is amazing how people seem to age so dramatically when you don’t see them for a few years. Cimnashote had returned to Itsati for a while, but then had wandered off again toward the south. Ghigooie hoped I would run into him and talk him into settling down. I hoped I would find him, also, but no one could ever talk him into anything. It had been so long since I had seen him I wondered if I would recognize him. I was sure he would recognize me since I do tend to stick out.

We stayed until a week or so after the Great New Moon Festival, and then we rode southeast so I could take John to the falls of Tallulah where I had cast Carlotta’s ashes. It was a somber ride for me reliving the journey of four years before. John seemed instinctively to respect my quiet introspection. When we got to the granite cliffs, I tied the horses where they could graze, then carried John up the trail to the top of the cliff. Once on top I securely held his hand as we walked along the cliffs to the spot where I had built my little memorial cairn. We sat silently for a while by the cairn watching the water flow over the falls. It was still a beautiful spot. I told John how I had thrown in Carlotta’s ashes here and then followed them to the sea. I asked him if he wanted to do that also.

“Agi’tsi-i isn’t really here anymore, Agidodah. She won’t be in the sea either. She is in the dream world. But she does like this place and I’m glad you showed it to me.”

He was right, of course, and remembering that trip to the sea, I really didn’t want to repeat it either. We spent the rest of the day and camped overnight at the site. The next morning, I fussed over the cairn a bit; then we climbed back down to the horses. We returned to the Cusabo and got a ride across the Tallulah, then turned southwest. To my surprise we continued to come across small Ani’ Yun’-wiya villages for quite some distance. I learned at one of them, where we waited out a particularly violent storm, that they had spread quite far south and west over the years filling the vacuum left by the imploded Southeastern Cities. We were well out of the mountains before we came upon any of the latter’s settlements. These proved to be of the Coosa, who told me that most of the other cities had concentrated to the south where they were now thriving. The Coosa had been expanding back into their old territory which somehow the Ani’ Yun’-wiya had missed.

Before long we were in Pansfalaya country. They had also expanded eastward into the vacuum. It was in this area I would find my brother Theodore. I asked an elder at the first town in our path and was directed to the town where he was now settled. The man added that he was expecting me. Some things never change. The town where he had settled was on the east bank of the East Union River. Since that river used to be the border of the Pansfalaya, it was obviously a fairly new town. It proved to be of moderate size, with a bustling market. I approached an elder to ask for directions to Theodore’s house.

“The second house on the right on the road leading north from the market,” he said as soon as he caught sight of me. “He’s been expecting you for a while now.”

I thanked the man and ambled through the market toward the north road. There were many things for sale, mostly food and ornaments, but it was only a pale reflection of the market in Tlatelolco. We cleared the market and approached the house. It was a typical Pansfalaya house, but there was a line of people waiting around the door. As we drew near, one of them told us to go around back, we were expected. We led the horses around to the coral in back and took off their packs. We gave them some fodder and water, then turned toward the house. It was only then that I noticed a smaller house behind the main house. As I looked at it, a door opened and an older woman came out.

“Karl-crow and Little John, welcome, come in,” she said.

I did not recognize her at all, but had to assume she was Mahwissa. I had not seen her since I was a child and remembered her as a beautiful young woman. She ushered us into the small house and insisted on feeding us. She told me that Theodore would join us when he finished seeing the sick. I told her that I had noticed the line and mentioned that I thought he was retiring. She smiled and told me he would never retire. She brought me up to date on their children. John was in the northeast, Sarah and her children were fine, and Paula had finally left Nizhevoss and was now in the northwest studying with another healer. It was late in the day before Theodore joined us. He invited me to join him in a sweat bath. I suggested we bring along John and he agreed.

“I’ll wager you didn’t recognize Mahwissa,” he chuckled.
“Well, no,” I admitted.

“When I told her you’d be visiting us, she reminded me that she hadn’t seen you since I brought her to Cuauhnahuac to meet the family. That was a long time ago, about thirty years.”

 

“She didn’t travel with you, so I’d see you, but never her. You know, I’ve never met your children at all.”

“You haven’t? I suppose that’s right. Well, I’ve met all my nieces and nephews. It’s odd that in your wanderings you never ran into any of my children. Of course, now that I stay in one place, I probably won’t see any of the relatives unless they come here.”

“Have you seen Cimnashote? Ghigooie said he was wandering around in this area.”

 

“He is on his way here now, but he was in the Timacua Peninsula visiting some friends at the Alligator Ordu. If you stay a while, he’ll catch up to you.”

“Ghigooie thinks I can talk him into settling down.”
“I think he’ll try to talk you into going back on campaign with him.”
“What?”

“He’s a warrior. He’ll always be a warrior. He greatly admires your success as a warrior and would love to serve with you.”

“My success as a warrior was mostly luck.”
“Nonsense. You have the skill and the courage, and you know what to do. You are a fine warrior. However, there is not much reason to go on campaign at the moment. Both southern Khanates are trying to conquer the jungle. Should the Khanate of the Clouds ever turn south again, they will find a real foe waiting for them.”

“Really?”

 

“Yes, I’ve heard that the tribe south of the Kakan people are not just fierce, but they are clever and have already adopted some of our tactics.”

 

“If we haven’t taken them on yet, how could they use our tactics?”

“They were in contact with the Kakan. Perhaps you never heard about them, but they fought us to the death and were all but wiped out in a brutal campaign. But they didn’t have horses or cannon or our tactics and never really had a chance. Some of their survivors made it to the other tribe, who call themselves the Re Che. The latter tribe sent spies in to look us over and was very impressed. Next they sent a contingent of volunteers who could speak the Kakan language to pose as deserters ready to join the conquerors. They were duly trained and after taking part in a few campaigns mysteriously disappeared while on a routine patrol. They were presumed to have succumbed to some freak accident, but the bodies were never found. When we sent spies into their land to check them out a few years later, they reported back that the Re Che were all mounted warriors armed with our compound bows and had cannon and knew how to use them. The spies also found out about the patrol that had disappeared. They had retuned to their fellows to teach them all they had learned from us.”

“Amazing. Didn’t George immediately attack them?”

 

“George died a few years ago, his son Henry is now Khan. Henry was more intrigued than hostile and decided to wait a while and then try to approach them with a delegation and get them to join rather than be conquered.” “That was definitely not George. But it really doesn’t sound much like Henry either. Is Dehahuit still around?”

“He suffered a mysterious fatal accident shortly after Khan George died. He was buried with much honor. His son was sent on an ill-fated campaign into the jungle shortly afterward. Oddly the son’s family accompanied him.”

“Now that sounds more like George.”

 

“Henry had a deep-seated hatred of Dehahuit. Extending the vindictiveness to his family, however, is hard to justify. Perhaps he thought them to be enemies also.”

 

“What has become of Ignace?”

 

“He is not smart enough to kill off his brother, so he remains, for the moment in charge of the jungle campaigns.”

“Is Henry trying to kill him off too?”
“Perhaps, but he stays in Cuzco and merely dispatches the tumen into the jungle.”
“Are they getting anywhere?”

“Not really. They, of course, brush aside any organized resistance, but then the men tend to die from disease and ambush with poison darts. Our losses on these campaigns are quite heavy.”

“When do you think he will move against the Re Che?”
“Not for a few years, I’d guess.”

We got out of the sweat bath and plunged into the river, then dried off and returned to the small house. I asked why he lived behind his house instead of in it; he said the smaller house was large enough for the two of them and less trouble to keep clean. Besides, the larger house was full of all his medicines and could arguably be said to have an unpleasant odor. After John had gone to bed, I talked to Theodore about Ayun’ini and the future that seemed to be laid out for John. I told him about his strange ability to see “clouds” around people that indicated their state of mind and around animals and plants that indicated who knew what. And the facile way he wandered around the “dream world” meeting spirits who could communicate with him their whereabouts in the real world.

“Well, I have seen what might be called ‘clouds’ around certain plants from time to time, if the light is right, but not animals or people. Of course, I never thought to look for them. As to communicating with spirits we’ve done that most of our lives with our spirit guides. Obviously, they don’t tell us where to meet them in the flesh, since they don’t exist in the flesh. In any case, it is the way with children, we teach them what we can, but in the end they must find their own way and we must let them.”

“It is just that he seems to spend too much time in this ‘dream world’ of his. He is able to tell me things about Carlotta that I never knew. He was able to point out the very spot where she was born on Capawake and where her parents were buried. I worry that he does not remain aware enough in this world. After all, this is where he lives and dies, not there.”

“Actually we live in both places, but some of us are more aware of one than the other. At least that is what Mahwissa tells me.”

“She wanders about the ‘dream world’?”
“She is a Dzitsiista. It is their way. They are very mystical.”
“Do you think it is a good thing to be mystical?”
“It is the best way to be. I wish I were more so.”
“Perhaps she can help him with it then.”
“She will be honored to do so.”
“You know, Ayun’ini mentioned that his mother was her cousin. Have you ever met him?” “No. He must have moved away when he was young.”
“Yes, he mentioned that his parents wandered quite a bit.”

We moved on to other topics. I mentioned that I had heard that Toragana had met an unpleasant end as he had predicted. He shrugged and said that Kujujuk cared more for the Khakhanate than his own family. That was one way to look at it. Frankly, I thought it was more akin to cutting off a moribund limb from an otherwise healthy tree. I wondered if Berke would also meet an untimely end, but Theodore was certain he would not be bothered since he had no ambition and was not a threat to anyone.

The next day while Theodore was treating his patients, John and I went for a walk along the river. I found a likely spot and decided to do a little fishing to contribute to our upkeep. John seemed very introspective and I was rethinking my lone campaign and wondering if I had it in me to go back to that again. I wondered why anyone went back to that again and indeed why some never left it. Theodore had indicated that Cimnashote was such a person, but it was hard to imagine that he would not be turned off by it.

“He thinks it is all he knows how to do, Agidodah,” John broke into my thoughts.
“How can you know what I am thinking about?”
“You seemed troubled, so I listened to you.”
“How is it you know what Cimnashote thinks? You’ve never met him.”
“When Agilisi Ghigooie told me about him, I visited him in the dream world. He is very sad and lonely.” “He was wandering around in your ‘dream world’?”
“No, but I went to see him while I was there so I could get to know him.”
“You can go and see perfect strangers and get to know them without them being aware?”
“Yes. He didn’t know I was there.”
“What was he doing?”
“He was sitting along a river near an Ordu fishing by himself and thinking about a lot of things.” “I’m not sure you should tune in on people’s thoughts without their permission.”
“I’m sorry, Agidodah, I didn’t know it was wrong.”
“I’m not sure it’s wrong, I just don’t think you should. Ask your mother the next time you talk to her.” “Well, Agidu’tsi Theodore was right, Cimnashote is coming to ask you to go on campaign with him.”

“I will have to disappoint him, then. I am staying with you until you have to join Ayun’ini. And then only if your mother still thinks you should.”

“You can go after I join Ayun’ini.”
“I’m not sure I ever want to go on campaign again.”
“Everyone says you are a great warrior, Agidodah.”

“All it takes to be a great warrior is a lot of luck and being too stupid or too stubborn or even too frightened to run away from danger.”

 

“I think there is more to it than that.”

We had some luck and I cleaned our catch and brought it back to Mahwissa. She was happy to have something different from deer meat for a change and set off to prepare it for our evening meal. Theodore emerged from his clinic and again suggested a sweat bath. I asked if he did it every day and he admitted he did, since he felt that it cleaned all the sickness off of him. I decided not to explore that concept. However, John had also joined us, and he commented,

“You are right Agidu’tsi, your cloud is full of dark things until you clean them off.”
“What color is it after I wash off the dark things?” he asked.
“It is a bright purple around your head, white on your chest and green around your arms,” John replied. “Thank you, I hope those are good colors.”
“I only see such colors on good people, Agidu’tsi.”
“I hate to think what you would have seen around our cousins, George and George or Toragana for that matter.”

After we finished our sweat bath and washed off in the river, Theodore turned to John for “cloud inspection” and was assured that all the dark things were gone. Fortunately we discussed other matters at dinner. I felt we should stay a few days so I could catch and smoke enough fish to give them some variety for the winter and they were very grateful. I promised John we would visit Nanih Waiya next before going on to the Pelican Ordu for the winter. He was glad and wanted me to teach him how to fish so he could help. I agreed.

The next day I showed John the basics of fishing. He wondered if it was really a good thing to kill fish in order to eat. I explained that I had had a similar problem when I was a boy, but came to realize that we really didn’t have much choice. We needed the meat for food and eating carrion was not really safe, although there were tribes that would do that. I explained how we honored and thanked the fish spirit for helping us to survive by feeding us. He found my reasoning a bit lame and decided to consult the dream world for further enlightenment. I suppose I should have been insulted, but the truth was I could only hunt and fish because it was necessary not because I wanted to do so. After a while John returned from the dream world and told me that Carlotta had told him that killing and eating animals to survive was part of the balance of life and neither right nor wrong. He sighed heavily and tried to help me fish, but his heart wasn’t in it.

The next day I suggested he spend the day with Mahwissa instead of fishing with me. He felt torn about it since he thought he should be with me, but I explained that she was familiar with the dream world and could help him with it. He reluctantly agreed and I was free to fish without having to think about it. I got quite a good catch and had them smoking when Theodore finished for the day. John watched the fish while Theodore and I repaired to the sweat lodge. He expressed surprise that John had not gone fishing with me. I explained his problem with fishing and he laughed heartily and told me I richly deserved the problem. Remembering how much trouble I had been to the family as a boy, I had to agree. I did, however, point out that I had probably done a good deal more hunting and fishing than he had over the years given his profession and the way people were always happy to feed him or pay him with food. He admitted that I was probably right about that.

“Cimnashote will arrive tomorrow evening,” he mentioned after we had both been silent a while. “Should I ask how you know that?”
“The same way I knew you were coming, people tell me.”
“What is the point of this vast network of spies of yours if you’re not involved in some sort of conspiracy?” “I just like to be informed.”
“But how do you motivate all these people to act as your spies?”

“They aren’t spies, they are just friends who are happy to pass on information they think might be of interest to me.”

“Is that really all there is to it?”
“I’m afraid so. Of course, I’m sure your suspicions are a lot more interesting than the facts.”

I gave up, as usual, but I was still not even slightly convinced. I presumed he was just protecting me from whatever he was up to on the side. We finished up and enjoyed some of the fish I had caught for dinner. I noticed John didn’t eat very much fish, but filled up on centli and beans. I let it pass. The next day passed much the same, although John brought me my midday meal while I was fishing and took back my catch to help Mahwissa start smoking it. As I returned at the end of the day with the afternoon’s catch, I saw a man, who looked about my age, lead his horses into Theodore’s coral, feed and water them, then turn and approach my smoking racks.

“Koga!” Cimnashote called out, “I see you are still the best fisherman in the family.”
“Cimnashote”—I barely recognized him—“is it really you?”

“When I heard my brothers were nearby at last, I had to visit you. This must be the wondrous John I have heard so much about and this must be my sister Mahwissa. An honor to meet you both.”

“You never met Mahwissa before?”
“No. The only time Theodore took her to Itsati, I was away. He was probably afraid she’d run off with me.”

That got a particularly good laugh from Mahwissa, but John was clearly puzzled by the comment. Soon Theodore joined us and all but Mahwissa went to the sweat lodge. We didn’t talk much in the lodge, but just enjoyed each other’s company. After our plunge in the river, we returned to the house and Cimnashote regaled us with the tales of his adventures over the years since last I had seen him when we were little more than boys.

It seems he left for campaign about a year after I left Itsati. He trained with the Panther Ordu, then was sent to the Green Mist. Like me, he first stopped in the capital of the Khanate. It was the new capital, Kaidubalikh, named after the first Khan of the Green Mist, not the founder of Khakhanate. It proved to be a very long trip by ship to the new city. At the time, the city was still under construction and not very impressive, but there was a nice bay and beautiful beaches. The local tribe was called Tamoyo. They had been conquered a few years before and had submitted to the new regime with enthusiasm. Apparently most of the tribes along the coast spoke a similar language but were always fighting among themselves since they practiced cannibalism and raided their neighbors for victims. Once we outlawed the practice, the young men became willing recruits in our wars of conquest.

Cimnashote took part in two five-year campaigns both inland and down the coast from the new capital. He saw most of his first campaign action inland against the Meritong, the Borum, the Mashacali and their allies, and finally elements of the Cayapo. He could only tell us that the Meritong were naked, heavily tattooed, and fought bravely up to a point with long, ineffective bows. The Borum were naked except for a sheath with which they covered their manhood, wore large cylindrical wooden plugs in their ears and lower lips, painted their faces red and their bodies black for battle, and also fought bravely using a long bow. The Mashacali and their perhaps allies, the Patasho and Macuni, also were naked except for tying their foreskins with a vine and also wore thin sticks in their lower lip. They did not really resist, but readily joined us to fight the Borum. They used very long bows also. The Cayapo were naked except for the sheath like the Borum, but they also used a wide variety of labrets in their lower lip, wore sashes, cords, feathers, tassels, shells, armlets, and even small mats on their backs. They too used the red and black paint though more sparingly than the Borum. They also used very long bows as well as either round or flat clubs, lances, and occasionally stone axes. They were very brave, but very divided. He admitted that he really didn’t pay much attention to them otherwise.

The second campaign was also at first inland against more of the Cayapo and then along the coast farther south against the Guayana. The latter were naked except for a cord belt to which some of them tied their manhood, and also used labrets, necklaces of seeds, animal teeth, bird bones and claws slung around their shoulders, feather head ornaments, and charcoal body paint in shapes of dots, lines, circles and bars. They fought with long bows, spears, and clubs and used traps and caltrops to cover their retreat. They were brave, but did not resist for long. They were not a well-organized people, but they did mount a fairly unified resistance for the better part of a year before capitulating. The Cayapo campaign seemed to be endless through worsening terrain. He understood that we were still fighting elements of them.

He left after the second campaign to wander around the Khakhanate for a few years, but in the end decided to return for another campaign. He had missed the fight against the Guarani, Minuan, and Charrua farther south along the coast, but had gotten in on the fight against the Genakin. They controlled a large grassland south of wide tidal river that was really more of a bay. The Genakin were like some of the tribes in the Blue Sky. They wore only a small skin apron and a fur robe. They used no adornments or paints. They fought with bows, spears, slings, and the stones attached by leather cords, like I had seen in the Khanate of the Clouds. They used the last weapon very effectively against our horses if we got near enough. They fought tenaciously until their war leader was killed; then they would withdraw and elect another before returning to the war. We nearly had to wipe them out before they surrendered. After that campaign, he returned home again about two years ago.

I brought him up to date on my activities since we last saw each other. He was particularly interested in my single campaign and felt I had fought much more interesting opponents in the Chimu and the Inka than he had. He also marveled that I had gone from arban to minghan commander in four years. I pointed out that I had only been an arban commander because I had seen through the rebel ruse in Anahuac and had only been further promoted because of the great attrition in the Maya tumen. He said that the Maya were legendary for their bravery and any of their officers who moved to the Green Mist were immediately promoted one level. He was embarrassed to admit that he had only reached the rank of jagun commander after fifteen years of campaign, but he had been promised a promotion if he returned.

“So”—he look resolutely at me—“when do we go on campaign together?”
“Why would you want to return to campaign? Are you not weary after fifteen years of fighting?”

“You forget that almost half of that time was spent in traveling and training. Besides, it’s all I know how to do. I grow weary of wandering aimlessly around the Khakhanate bothering old friends.”

 

“Why not return to Itsati, find a good woman, and settle down to raise a family.”

 

“I found a good woman while I was on campaign. She died. I am not much inclined to look for another. Are you?”

“I doubt if I could find another Carlotta.”
“I doubt if I could find another Ghigao.”
“Ghigao? You found an Ani’ Yun’-wiya woman of great rank on campaign?”

“Hardly. It is the name I gave her. I never knew her real name. She was a Tamoyo girl who I met shortly after I arrived in Kaidubalikh. We could barely communicate, but fell deeply in love. She loved the name Ghigao and desperately tried to learn my language. She came with me on campaign and was killed during my second campaign when the Guayana made a surprise attack on our camp while we were chasing down their decoy army. She died fighting, so I named her well.”

“I am so sorry. I didn’t know.”

 

“I am terrible at writing, so I never told the family. There was nothing to tell since she died and we had no children. But, I’m sure you understand why I cannot settle down in Itsati.”

 

“I will not mention it again. But I do think you should tell your family what happened. It would help them understand.”

 

“Not really. You and I are aberrations. When most people lose their spouse, they just remarry. My family would expect the same from me. I’m surprised they haven’t suggested it to you.”

 

“They met Carlotta and they saw and understood the depth of our attachment. They know it would be unthinkable.”

 

“They probably expect you to come around in another year or two.”

 

“Anyway, Theodore tells me that both Khanates are trying to conquer the jungle now, so it’s hardly worth returning to campaign.”

 

“How would you know that?” he asked Theodore.

 

“I have my sources,” he replied. “If you wait two more years, you can get into a real campaign in the Clouds against the Re Che.”

 

“The Re Che?”

Theodore then explained to him about the Re Che and he became intrigued, although he wondered if they would simply make peace with Henry and join the Khanate. Theodore was sure they would never join without a fight and was certain it would be a hard one. Cimnashote became excited about the prospect of a “good” fight and told me I had to come with him. I explained that I would stay with John until he no longer needed me. He asked how long that would be and I had to admit it could be as little as two years.

“Then it is settled. I will return here in two years and if all goes well, we will go on campaign together in the Clouds.”

I don’t know why, but I agreed, and we pledged to meet at Theodore’s house two years later. He left the next day traveling north. John and I went west to Nanih Waiya. We arrived in the afternoon of the third day. We stopped by the yam to leave the horses, then walked over to and climbed up the mound. On the top I made a little fire and threw some nawak’osis on it. The smoke made John cough so I moved him upwind. I told him to see what he would see while I contacted my spirit guide.

Suddenly I was transported to my special field and there was Carlotta and my spirit guide. To my surprise, John was beside me. Carlotta embraced us both; then we all sat down and talked a long time. She reassured me that it was best for John to join Ayun’ini in two years and it would be fine if I went back on campaign. She and my guide would watch over me so I would not be harmed. She knew I didn’t really want to go, but felt Cimnashote needed me and would likely not come back if I didn’t go with him, and I would lose a true friend as well as a brother. John also assured me that he would watch over me on campaign and not let any harm come to me. I told him that if Ayun’ini was instructing him, he should pay attention to that instruction and not worry about me. He told me he could do both. As we got up to “leave” the field dissolved into a brilliant white light and suddenly my father and grandfather appeared, both as young men, and they told me that they were proud of me and John and then they told me something else for my information only. Then everything faded and I found myself in the dark with John still in trance. I carried him down the hill and turned in for the night at the yam.

45
John’s Trip, 110–1 K
(N. C. MS to SW LA to Sedona, AZ to SW LA, 1478–9)

The next morning John wanted to return to the hill again after breakfast. We did and he was soon lost in his dream world. I did not want to bother Carlotta or my spirit guide again so I just wandered around the top of the hill and kept an eye on John. Cuauhtzin sat on the ground next to John, keeping uncharacteristically quiet. Near midday I saw an old Pansfalaya working his way up the hill. When he reached me, we solemnly greeted each other, and he looked at John for a moment, then returned his steady gaze to me. It was amazing how old a Pansfalaya can get to be or at least look without becoming weak or feebleminded. His eyes were as clear and steady as those of a young warrior. I met his gaze. Finally he nodded approvingly and squatted down indicating I should do the same.

“It isn’t easy being the father of such a child, is it?”
“It can be bewildering at times, but it is hardly a burden.”
“It would appear you are a worthy father then.”
“Thank you. Do you have any advice for me?”

“Simply that you not stand in his way. I had such a son, but I resisted it mightily and in the end drove him away.”

“I’m sorry.”
“No need for pity. I deserved to lose him. If I had let him go, I would never have lost him.” “Did you also find him bewildering?”

“No, I understood completely. I was jealous. Why should my son have powers I could only dream about? Such was my stupidity. I should have been honored and privileged to know him let alone be his father.” “Jealous? Then you were hampered by understanding. I just have no idea what he is talking about sometimes.” “Well, I am a shaman, so I clearly understood. But what little abilities I have were only developed with great effort and sacrifice, he just had them, much like your boy.”

 

“But are they such good things to have? Such people are forever marked as different. They see too much and know too much. It seems to me to be a very difficult way of life.”

“Perhaps for a warrior. But for a shaman it is everything I could have wanted. I was so jealous of my boy that it consumed me. The village saw this and drove me out. I have been wandering the countryside a dismal failure ever since.”

“Why not return? If your son has reached his potential, he will surely forgive you and welcome you back.” “I’m sure he has long ago forgiven me. But I have not forgiven myself and I’m not sure I ever can.”

“If the offended party has forgiven you, is it not arrogance to hold on to the guilt as if to say his forgiveness is not as important as your guilt?”

 

“You are wise beyond your years, especially for a warrior. What is more you are right, but my ‘arrogance’ is all I have left. It defines me. If I let it go, I will be an empty shell.”

“But if you empty yourself of it you will be open to be filled up again with something better, perhaps.” “Like what?”
“My learned cousin said that God was love. Perhaps he could fill you with his love if you were open to it.” “God is love? What does that mean?”

“He felt that God was a being of love; his only relation to us was that he loved us just as we were with no conditions.”

 

“You mean we could live lives either filled with evil or good and he wouldn’t care?”

“I don’t think he meant that. My understanding was that he loved us and constantly inclined us toward him with his love. The degree to which we were open to his love is the degree to which we became like him, beings of love.”

“And if we fail miserably?”
“We have to return and try again.”

“Reborn? As a child? I have heard of such a belief among the Pantch, but not the Mongols. Where did your cousin get such an idea?”

 

“Not from the Pantch, I’m sure. It is really not from the Mongols either. My people worship a God named Deus, rather than Tengri, but I think my cousin arrived at his beliefs through his own meditation.”

“Interesting. To our detriment, I’m afraid, we Pansfalaya do not give much thought to such philosophical concepts. My son, of course, was an exception, and he has led many others to follow his lead. But are you not really a Mongol, then?”

“The Mongols are not actually a tribe. They are a group culled from many tribes, mostly from the grasslands north of the Middle Kingdom of the Hanjen. They accept anyone into their fold, no matter what his origin or beliefs. So it was that my ancestors joined them long ago.”

“Who was this cousin of yours? Was he a great shaman?”
“No, actually it was Khan Henry of Anahuac.”
“The one who was rumored to have been killed by his own son?”
“Yes, that’s the one.”

“It would seem his beliefs have been put to the test. Still, I will meditate on your advice and your cousin’s thoughts.”

 

“And I will strongly consider your sage advice.”

He set a little fire and threw some nawak’osis on it and began a ritualized chant. I rose and withdrew a polite distance and sat down again looking out all around from my vantage point. The oaks and hickories had shed their leaves, but the occasional pine tree and the many shrubs kept the view mostly green in every direction. The sky was blue with only a few wispy clouds. The day was warm and pleasant with the most gentle of breezes wafting by occasionally. My thoughts began to drift and I was suddenly in the presence of my spirit guide. He gave me some advice and a lot of reassurance. When I came out of my reverie, it was midafternoon. I looked around and both John and the old shaman were still in other worlds. I stood up and stretched and walked around a bit to loosen up. When I returned to John, he opened his eyes and stood up.

“Thank you, Agidodah. I am ready to go on now.”
“Very well, we will start out in the morning.”
“Isn’t that Holahta?” He stopped in front of the old shaman.
“I don’t know. He didn’t tell me his name.”
“Do you know me, child?” the old man asked as he opened his eyes and studied John intently.

“Yes, I have seen you in the dream world. Tonhome wants you to come back home so he can care for you and you can meet your grandchildren.”

“He told you this?”
“Yes. I have learned much from him. You can also if you will only be open to it.”
“I will try, child. Thank you.”

We left the old shaman with tears streaming down his face and returned back down the hill to the yam. I did not want to ask about any of that exchange. The next morning after breakfast, we mounted up and turned toward the west. At the juncture with the north-south road, we came upon the old shaman, Holahta. He had been waiting for us, apparently, and when we drew near, I could see he wore a serene smile and seemed to be at peace.

“Thank you, both for all your help. I will now die a happy man.”

He then turned toward the south and walked on with a spring in his step that belied his age. Cuauhtzin muttered something in Otomi, but neither John nor I made any comment, we just rode on. We arrived at the Missi Sipi around midmorning on the sixth day. As we crossed the pontoon bridge, I told John how I had been arrested when I crossed the other way with Carlotta and Hiacoomes and eventually had been exiled. I told him about the exile and how wonderful it had been in the north. He wanted to see it sometime, but I explained that it would be too hard on Cuauhtzin. Eight days later we reached the Ishak River and early the next day found the Pelican Ordu.

As usual Mathilde and Little Carlotta warmly greeted us. Mathilde looked tired, but Little Carlotta was clearly a handful, so it was no wonder. While the children played together, Mathilde asked about Theodore and told me about her other children. Aju had married and moved to the Alligator Ordu. Paula’s husband had finally returned, but had been a little distant on his return, which had upset her quite a bit. Bedagi was still somewhere in the west. He wrote irregularly. Sarah’s husband had gone back on campaign, but she decided to stay with the Alligator Ordu since Aju and his wife were moving there. Once we were caught up on family, I went to headquarters to get my dispatches. There proved to be three of them—one from Watomika, one from Luis, and one from Nezahualpili.

Watomika’s letter, as usual, merely greeted me and presented Luis’ letter. Luis’ letter was in Euskera again, so I had to get my notes to translate it. I really needed to find a way to better keep up with that language. In his letter he explained that the legua was almost ten li, as he understood li. I wasn’t sure how accurate that was, but I presumed someone had marked off a li for him. He also mentioned that the year was 1478 in their calendar and wondered how we measured years. He added that years were calculated from the birth of Christo, the Son of God, from whom Christians take their name. I wasn’t at all sure what any of that meant at the time, but it sounded vaguely familiar. I remembered that there was something about God having a son and a holy spirit, but no one had ever explained that to me. Of course, I had never asked either.

As to what was going on in Europa, the war in Gaztela was still plodding along although it was looking more hopeless for the cause of Juana. Things were quiet elsewhere, except that the Suizos were now at war with Milano (Milan), another city-state in Italia, Venezia was still fighting a losing war with the Ottomans, and Poloinia and Hungaria were still fighting over Bohemia, although there was rumor that a settlement was near. Since there was no hurry to answer these two letters, I set them aside and turned to Nezahualpili’s letter.

I did some quick calculating and realized he was fourteen years old at that time. He began by telling me about the death of Toragana. It seems that, in imitation of a practice in the old land, a group of archers had been trained to fire arrows a certain distance in a certain direction according to a signal. While they were practicing their skill, Toragana happened to ride into the path of their arrows. Nezahualpili thought it was all rather odd, but admitted he would not miss Toragana and was very happy Theodore was now the regent. He was sorry that Theodore no longer had time to train him, but he had sent over his best man to take over that task. He added that John, the young Khan, was still fixated on the idea that I was to blame for his mother’s death and could not be disabused of that fixation. He then asked me if it was wrong to be unmoved at the death of Toragana and that of the infamous Chabi, for that matter. He finished up by telling me he would be going on campaign in two years and wondered if there was any way I could be induced to go along.

I answered his letter right away. I told him that it was not good to rejoice in another’s misfortune, no matter how richly deserved it was in our opinion, but at the same time we could not be expected to mourn over the loss of a seemingly evil person. In fact that would be hypocritical. It was best to remain indifferent to the fate of those who have done much damage, although we could certainly rejoice that no more such damage is being done. I also told him there was a good chance I would return to campaign in two years and would be honored to serve with him, although we would have to rendezvous in the Khanate of the Clouds since I was still not welcome in Anahuac. I sent this letter out right away.

Later in the winter I answered the other two letters. I thanked Luis for his information and tried to explain the Hanjen calendar. I told him it was the 34th year of the 69th cycle, or the year ding-you in the Hanjen language. I explained that the count began the year the calendar was invented by the Emperor Huangdi. It consisted of sixty-year cycles divided into repeating twelve-year increments each named for animals. I added that the current year was that of the rooster. I also explained that it was a lunar calendar with each new moon being the first day of the month. Anticipating his questioning the accuracy of such a calendar I explained that as necessary an intercalary month was added to bring the lunar calendar into agreement with the solar calendar. I finished up by mentioning that there was some talk of switching formally to our unofficial calendar based on the founding of the Khanate or perhaps enumerating the years as years of the reign of the Khakhan. That would make it the year 110 K or the 21st year of the reign of Kujujuk. I expected that would thoroughly confuse him. Actually very few people used or even understood the Hanjen calendar, but it was nominally the official calendar. To most people it was the 21st year of the reign of Kujujuk. Under the circumstances that was less complicated. Additionally, to add to the confusion, most people considered the winter solstice to be the first day of the year, but the Hanjen calendar begins the year on the second new moon after the winter solstice. I found out later that the people of Europa begin the year about ten days after the winter solstice. I didn’t have the heart to even attempt to explain to Luis the Nahual and Maya calendars still used by some in Anahuac.

My letter to Watomika was short with the usual banalities, although I did thank him again for his kind words about John when we visited him. I took these two letters to the commander’s tent to be sent with the dispatch riders on their next trip. The commander’s aide assured me they would be sent within a few days. I figured that would get them there long before Luis arrived.

The winter was uneventful. I did some hunting and fishing with Aspenquid. He looked a bit tired also. I wondered if he was well. It would not have been proper to ask about his health, so I asked about Mathilde. He admitted that he was worried about her. He thought that Little Carlotta was taking a lot out of her and would be relieved when it was time for her to stay with relatives in a couple of years. I suggested my taking the two children on camping trips during the winter as long as I had no pressing duties and he thanked me profusely for the offer. He seemed genuinely relieved. I was beginning to wonder and got off a letter to Theodore asking if he could make his way here for a visit and check them both out.

True to my word, I took the two children on camping trips whenever the weather was decent enough, and if it wasn’t, we went on yam visiting trips. Little Carlotta was full of energy and into everything, but John helped me keep an eye on her. Still we did have a few trying times. I had to rescue her from a river, a few bramble bushes, several falls from her horse, and several encounters with animals including even a panther. It was easy to see why she was running her parents ragged. By the end of winter, both Aspenquid and Mathilde were looking a little better. I suspect I was not.

While I was on one of my trips, Theodore’s son, John, had dropped by to visit and surreptitiously check out Aspenquid and Mathilde. He left them a note for me. It said that “the mission had been accomplished and everything was under control.” I suppose that sort of vagueness was in case Mathilde read the note. Either that or he had been hanging around his father too long. I was sorry I missed him. I wondered what he was like. Mathilde assured me that he was very nice, much like his father only quieter.

When at last it was spring, I took John aside and asked him what he would like to do this last year we would be together. He surprised me by saying he wanted to visit the place that Ayun’ini had described the year before, where Sintana had come to teach him. I told him that it was very unlikely that either one of them was there now. He assured me that he knew that, but he wanted to see if the place was as magical as it appeared in the dream world. I agreed that we could try and find it.

So, a few weeks after the spring solstice, we set off a little north of west the exact reverse of our trip some two years before. It proved to be a beautiful time to travel this way. After about a week, we reached the prairie. During the next three weeks, the grasslands were blooming with tiny wildflowers, the air was alive with buzzing insects, the sky was clear and mostly mild. There would be storms, but they would not last long, which was fortunate since there was almost no cover, especially during the last week. The prairie changed as we rode west. At first it was dominated by both the large and the small varieties of the grass that is bluish in the spring, then turns various shades of brown, red or green in the summer, along with the straight grass with the long bristles. Next the shorter bluish grass dominated, but there were occasional oaks and junipers dotting the prairie. Then the oaks and junipers gave way to the small, hard, thorny trees or bushes with light yellow, fragrant blossoms and the short gray-green grass with the little white flowers took over from the bluish grass. Then the trees gave way and a ribbonlike grass with a feathery head joined the gray-green grass. Next the gray-green grass gave way to the short wiry grass with the tiny spiky white flower clusters and the pungent bushes with the twisted yellow flowers. Finally the bushes gave out and the last two grasses dominated the rest of the way. Sprinkled sparingly among the dominant grasses we would see red, yellow, blue, and white wildflowers of varying shapes and sizes. We would also occasionally pass through a pine and juniper forest, but generally stuck to the grassland for the horses. We also noticed a huge herd of the plains oxen off to the north and came across a few hunting bands of Titskan Watitch and even a band of Chahiksichahiks along the way.

Even though it was spring throughout the trip, it proved rather cold once we were in the mountains. I was surprised how much that bothered me now. It was hard to believe I had spent six years in the far north. I supposed that I had become accustomed to the milder weather I had been enjoying these last few years “for Cuauhtzin’s sake.” Anyway we had run out of grassland and into another pine forest that had given way to a juniper and pine forest when we reached Ayun’ini’s special place. It was, indeed, much as he described it, although the nights were a little cold for Cuauhtzin and me. John was fascinated and insisted on wandering all over the place and pointing out all the sites that were significant to Ayun’ini. Needless to say, I really wasn’t interested, but did not want to dampen his enthusiasm.

It was nearly midsummer before I could persuade him to go visit the huge canyon of the Hopitu River the Immortal Juchi had explored a century before. We went northwest so we could catch a patch of grassland for most of the way and in about four days found ourselves at the rim. We had encountered a smaller canyon leading toward the main canyon early on the fourth day and followed its east rim the rest of the day finally reaching the great canyon at dusk.

The canyon had to be several li wide at this point. The next morning we followed the canyon upstream. It switched sharply south, west, and south again before turning generally east once more. We continued to travel along the rim for a few days stopping frequently to look. I told John that my brother Ignace had once insisted that there was a group of canyons in Anahuac a little northwest of Ralamari country that were deeper and longer but not as wide as this canyon. My brother Theodore had always insisted that this one was more impressive. One morning while eating breakfast we were looking over the rim to the river far below.

“I think the best view of the canyon would either be from the river or from the sky,” John said pensively. “Well,” I ventured, “if one were riding down that river one would be too busy trying to avoid hitting rocks or foundering in the rough water to see much and one would have to be able to fly to see it from the air.” “Usually that would be true,” he nodded. “But in the dream world one can float down the river without concern or fly over it without wings.”

“You have me at a disadvantage there, I’m afraid.”
“You’ve been to the dream world. Agidodah. You just didn’t realize it.”
“Do you mean when I visit my spirit guide and Carlotta?”
“Yes. Ask Agi’tsi-i to show you the next time you visit her.”
“She can take me flying over this canyon?”
“Yes. And anywhere else you want to go.”
“Have you done this?”
“Yes, many times.”
“You had already seen Ayun’ini’s place before we got there?”
“Yes. But I wanted to experience it in the body also. It is a very special place. Can’t you feel it?” “Well, it is an attractive place, but I prefer Itsati or even Cuauhnahuac.”
“Cuauhnahuac is a beautiful place. I love the trees with the big red flowers on them.”
“You have visited there in the dream world?”
“Yes. Agi’tsi-i took me there. She said it was the magical place where I began my life.”
“You were conceived there, but you were born in Itsati.”
“I know, Agidodah. I like Itsati also. But you were born in Cuauhnahuac.”
“So I was. But we can’t go back there as long as our cousin means us harm.”
“One day I will visit there.”

I hoped he would. Meanwhile he convinced me to try contacting Carlotta so we could “fly” together. I leaned up against a large pine and drew my thoughts within. Soon I was in my field with my spirit guide and Carlotta. I asked them about John’s claim that we could fly over the canyon and they assured me we could. Next John appeared in our midst and took our hands. Suddenly the ground disappeared and we were above the canyon flying upstream very fast until the width of the canyon narrowed and the depth rose to more ordinary parameters. Then we descended to just above the water and followed it downstream twisting and turning with the river and stopping occasionally for a breathtaking view. Then we were back at our starting place again, but we continued downriver all the way to the southward bend in the land of the Tzinama-a where the canyon flattens. Then we rose up again and flew above the canyon all the way back to our starting point. Then Carlotta gave us each a kiss and we were back at the rim. I was flabbergasted by that experience and just looked in wonder at John who was smiling.

Around noon we started back to Ayun’ini’s valley once again following the grassland most of the way back. I could not understand what I had experienced back there so I decided to just enjoy the memory. When we regained the valley, John revisited a few “power places” and then was ready to return to the Pelican Ordu. It was late summer when we started back. Different wildflowers were blooming at this time of year and the short bluish grass had turned yellow and was now flowering. The tall bluish grass had turned its various colors, brown, gray, green, and red and was also flowering. It was hard to say if the prairie was more beautiful at this time of year or in the spring. We arrived back at the Pelican Ordu in early fall.

Once again I was distressed to see that both Mathilde and Aspenquid looked very wan. Once again I took over Little Carlotta. I tried to teach the children hunting, but it was no use. Carlotta would not keep still and John couldn’t bring himself to hurt the animals. Fishing was equally hopeless. John still didn’t like hurting fish and Carlotta had no patience for it at all. So we went camping again. They both seemed to like that well enough and Aspenquid assured me that was far more helpful than hunting and fishing for them. So we passed the winter again. I was truly grateful when Bedagi finally showed up in late fall and took over the children long enough for me to catch up on my dispatches. This time there were four. The extra one was from Theodore.

I opened his first. He told me to encourage Mathilde and Aspenquid to send Little Carlotta off to relatives in the spring. Perhaps I could see that she gets to where they want to send her. He went on to say that they both seemed to be in failing health and the little one was exacerbating the situation. I was puzzled since I had gotten the impression from his son’s message to me the year before that they were well. I wrote back that I would do as he suggested and asked if he had mentioned anything to Mathilde about her health.

Nezahualpili thanked me for my advice and said that he would be in the Khanate of the Clouds in the early fall of next year. He would be looking for me. I wrote back that I would get there as soon as I could around that time and was looking forward to serving with him.

Luis found my explanation of the Hanjen calendar bewildering and suggested that we should switch to his Christian calendar instead. He failed to give any compelling reason for such a move, however, other than convenience for him. The news from Europa included the death of Juan II of Aragon and the crowning of his son, Ferdinando. It seemed that because Gaztela was larger and more powerful than Aragon, he was considered the joint ruler with Isabella of Gaztela and Aragon. The civil war was almost over with the pretender Juana’s allies crushed. The Suizos had defeated Milano at Giornico and were finally at peace. Venezia had made peace with the Ottomans by acknowledging the latter’s sovereignty over the lands they had conquered and ceding to them Scutari, whose garrison had held out against repeated attacks. He explained that Scutari was near the old Eastern Empire capital, Constantinople. The Ottomans had conquered the Eastern Empire in 1453 and had been slowly conquering their way into Europa ever since. Poloinia and Hungaria had settled their war over Bohemia in a treaty giving the crown of Bohemia to the son of the king of Poloinia and three provinces to Hungaria. Meanwhile, Mateo, the king of Hungaria was making raids on the Holy Roman Empire and had even besieged the emperor’s capital. Word had also reached him that the king of Russia had conquered Novgorod, a related people west of them. He mentioned that this king claimed to be the successor of the Eastern Empire since he married the only niece of the last emperor. Taking out my copy of the map he had sent me, I was puzzled and asked him how the much smaller Hungaria, which had just finished a long struggle with another larger kingdom, could hard press an empire as large as the Holy Roman Empire. I also asked why the people of Europa didn’t unite against the increasing threat posed by the Ottomans. These both seemed like reasonable questions to me. Finally I told him I would likely be going on campaign the following year so he should not be alarmed if he didn’t hear from me. I would try to write even if I didn’t get his letter.

I also told Watomika about going on campaign the following year, although I expected I would be able to get and answer next spring’s letters before I left in the summer. I thanked him for all his kindness in passing on the letters and asked if there was anyone he wanted me to look up while I was in the Khanate of the Clouds. I sent off the letters before the winter solstice.

Not surprisingly, Bedagi had enough of the children after a few days and quickly renewed his travels. I returned to my charge. By the end of the winter I could see that Mathilde was only a little stronger so I spoke to her and Aspenquid about sending Little Carlotta off to relatives in the spring. I even offered to take her if it would be toward the east. They thought about it for a few days and finally agreed with me. Aspenquid wanted Carlotta to stay with his relatives and Mathilde agreed that would be best. He gave me detailed directions to his band’s likely location and the name of his nephew, Wzokhilain, who had a daughter just about Carlotta’s age, and whose wife was young and vigorous. It was a good plan, but I suspected Little Carlotta would not be happy about it. When it was time to go, I was shocked to find that she was all excited and couldn’t wait to visit her cousin especially since John and I were taking her there. I had a feeling it would be a long trip.

46
Pelican Ordu to Sabino to Tonggye 111 K
(SE LA to NE ME to Mobile, AL 1479)

Once I knew what my itinerary would be, I sent Watomika a note asking him to hold Luis’ letter to me since I should be in Yangzi late in the spring or early in the summer. We waited until the spring solstice, and then set off to the northeast. I wanted to visit my meadow one more time, just in case I would not return from campaign. Little Carlotta was very excited about the trip and took quite a while to settle into the routine of a long trip. It was almost impossible to keep her on the trail. She was always wandering off after a “pretty flower,” a “cute animal,” a big rock, whatever. As a result we rarely reached a yam by nightfall and usually had to camp along the trail. She really preferred camping and I suspect most of the yam guests would also prefer that we camp. The few nights we did stay in yams she was constantly running all over poking her nose into everyone else’s rooms and belongings. It was fortunate for her that children were so indulged by most of the people in the Khakhanate. I received more than a few disgusted looks, however, since her behavior was obviously my fault.

We finally reached my meadow about four weeks after starting out. The people who had settled there had several children and I was able to leave John, Little Carlotta, and Cuauhtzin with them for a little time so I could be alone in our special spot. I sat down on the ground and let the memories wash over me. Suddenly Carlotta was with me and we clung to each other not saying a word, just holding on. I don’t know how long we remained like that, but finally we parted, and I thanked her for blessing my reverie. She assured me that she was always that close to me. I then asked her if she was sure I should turn John over to Ayun’ini this summer. She said it was best for him. She also warned me that I would desperately miss him if I didn’t keep myself very busy. I reminded her that I would be going on campaign. She assured me she remembered and that she would be watching over me so that no harm would come to me.

It was nearly dusk when I came back to myself. I went to the house and gathered up the children and Cuauhtzin and we camped on my spot that night. My dreams were wonderful. The next morning we set out again, this time turning more to the east. We crossed the Missi Sipi well north of Murenbalikh a few days later. We passed through Hotcangara country and into Wazhazhe territory within a week. We stopped to visit our few relatives while we were there. This trip was taking a lot longer than I anticipated and it was late spring when we arrived at the Panther Ordu. It was then situated about fifty li north of Zheng He on the Leni lenape River.

I looked up some friends and got a better fix on where Aspenquid’s village was from some of his fellow Alnanbai in the Ordu. His village was called Sabino and it was then near the mouth of the Alnanbai River. That was about ten days’ ride to the northeast from the Ordu in normal circumstances. As it turned out, Little Carlotta had begun to weary of all the travel and we actually made it in eleven days. The village was small, perhaps a hundred or so people. They lived in the conical tents covered with bark instead of hides like in the west. They called them wigwams. The bark was sewn into mats and tied to the pole frame. The wigwams were clustered around an open space and there were cultivated fields on the periphery. Since they were near the coast, they gathered shellfish and fished more than hunted.

Finding Wzokhilain was no problem at all. He introduced us to his wife, Baeshkwae, an Anishinabe, and his daughter, Omeemee. The latter was exactly Little Carlotta’s age and they hit it off immediately. I urged the couple to teach her their languages and insist that she write home at least once a season. They promised they would. Both of them were young and vigorous and I was sure they would be able to handle the girl, but I warned them about her anyway. They just laughed and said they welcomed such a child.

The next day, John and I started south along the coast to Yangzi. I was pleased to see that while Little Carlotta and Omeemee waved vigorously as we left; there were no tears and no running after us. I did notice how rough the coast was near the village and wondered if she would injure herself. So I mentally asked Carlotta to keep an eye on her namesake so no serious harm would come to her.

We arrived at Yangzi on the fifth day after leaving Sabino. I went straight to Watomika’s residence. As usual I was ushered into the waiting room. This time a very pleasant young man came in to greet us and bring us to the governor. He introduced himself as Chicali from the town of Kasihta, one of the Southeastern Cities. I asked about his town and he said that it was flourishing although it was not yet a large as it had been before the plagues.

Watomika was delighted to see us and insisted we join him for midday meal. His new secretary, Chicali, also joined us. He wanted to know what I had been doing since he had last seen me and I told him about our travels about the Khakhanate. I asked how things were going in his province and he was quite pleased to report that all was well. There was still a little construction going on, but basically the town was built as were the port facilities and all was functioning smoothly. After our meal we withdrew to his office and he gave me Luis’ letter. Then he asked what my plans were for John. I explained that he would be staying with and trained by Ayun’ini, a very mystical shaman.

“Do you wish to become a mystic?” he asked John.
“Oh, yes, sir.” John brightened up.

“Well. We never know what our children will become. I know my father was aghast when I told him my intentions. Are you aghast, Crow?”

“No. I’m at peace with his wishes.”
“Good. That’s always best. Did I ever tell you what my son became?”
“No, I don’t think you did.”

“He is a mapmaker. He is responsible for mapping the southern end of the southern landmass. Imagine! A Leni lenape mapmaker.”

“Well, you already broke the mold.”
“True. Anyway, I’m very proud of him.”
“He must be very brave, many of the early mappers were killed.”

“He is closer to foolhardy, actually. So far, he has gotten away with it. Anyway, you may benefit from some of his handiwork while you are on campaign. I don’t think you will run into him, but if you do, give him my best.”

“I will. What is his name?”
“Sacook.”

He urged me to take a ship to Longjiang, instead of riding all the way to Itsati. I gave it some thought and realized that we could ride up the Powhatan River from Longjiang to find Ayun’ini, since John assured me he was still in that area. I also felt that John was old enough to travel by sea and it might be the only chance he ever got to do so. I thanked Watomika for his hospitality and his suggestion and he had Chicali take me down to the docks to find a ship heading for Longjiang. As it happened there were three ships that would be going there. One of them was leaving with the morning tide, so I chose that one. It was one of the fuchuan type ships.

We were welcomed aboard by the captain who explained that it was a training ship so the crewmen were still learning their jobs. I suppose I was supposed to think the journey would be rather rough, but it turned out to be very smooth. I found the crew very professional and very competent. It did take six days to get to Longjiang, but we ran into some contrary winds. This gave me enough time to read Luis’ letter in that difficult language of his.

Luis explained that the Holy Roman Empire I had asked about was not really an empire. He added that it was not holy or Roman either. It seemed that it was a very loose confederation of fully independent principalities that gave little more than a nod of deference to whichever of them was elected emperor. Most recently the emperors had all belonged to the Hapsburg dynasty of Austria, a principality in the southeastern corner of the empire. Therefore the “emperor” could only call on the resources of Austria to defend himself and as I could see from his map, Hungaria was bigger than Austria. Of course, Austria also had some other possessions, but the emperor only controlled a few of them, the rest belonged to minors under his protection. One of the minors, Ladislaus, was supposed to be king of Bohemia and Hungaria, but the local princes had deposed him in favor of the current rulers whose war against each other had recently been settled. In a further complication, the son of the emperor, Maximiliano, had married Maria, the daughter of the late Carlos Ausarti of Ardangori and was now its ruler. In that capacity he defeated an army from Frantzia, which had invaded his northern territory. This left me puzzled as to why Frantzia had been defeated by the smaller Ardangori, who had earlier been defeated by the even smaller Suizos. But I suspected better generalship. As to my question about the Ottoman Empire, Luis told me that while it was scandalous, the Christian kingdoms of Europa would rather fight each other than unite against the heathen Ottomans. Only when their own interests were threatened did they fight them. He didn’t know why this was so, but he suspected that each country was jealous of the other’s power and rather hoped the Ottomans would destroy their enemies and weaken themselves enough so that they could then defeat them.

Elsewhere in Europa, the war in Gaztela was over and the pretender, Juana, had been banished to a convent. He explained that a convent was a place where women lived together in a community and spent their lives in prayer, or at least were supposed to so spend their lives. He did not elaborate. He did say he expected Ferdinando and Isabella to move against the heathens in the southern part of the peninsula. He added than the new united kingdom was often referred to as Hispania now. He explained that Hispania had been the name of the entire peninsula when it was a part of the Roman Empire. Meanwhile the Ottomans had seized the Italianiera city of Otranto, near the southeastern tip of that peninsula. Also, the king of Russia had defeated an attempt by the Tatars to reassert their domination of his kingdom. Apparently, the Tatars were what was left of the old Khanate of Batu or Khanate of Qipchaq as it was referred to in the old Yuan days. It had lasted over two hundred years, so far, but was obviously weakening. He finished his letter by wishing me well on campaign and he hoped to hear from me soon.

I wrote Luis a brief note thanking him for his answers to my questions and explaining roughly where I would be on campaign. I also asked if the Roman Empire he mentioned owning Hispania at one time was anything like the Holy Roman Empire, since I really didn’t know much about the history of Europa. I also wrote Watomika a note thanking him again for his hospitality and promising to keep an eye out for his son. Finally, I wrote a letter to Mathilde and Aspenquid telling them about the safe delivery of Little Carlotta to Wzokhilain and Baeshkwae and how she had hit it off with their daughter. I told them how nice Sabino was and how happy their relatives were to have Little Carlotta with them. Finally, I lied about how good she had been on the trip. I also mentioned that she would be writing them at least once a season.

When we reached Longjiang, I counted thirty-two ships in the harbor and two in the docks undergoing repairs. The town had grown quite large and was full of green-uniformed sailors. I secured some horses and we rode east looking for Neconis’ yam. We found it still standing, although the city had grown much closer to it than I recalled.

He was delighted to see me. I was shocked that he remembered me. I introduced him to John and he and his wife made a big fuss over him. They were even happy to see Cuauhtzin again. I thought he and his wife looked a little frail to be running a yam, but I also noticed they didn’t have much business. There was only one other person, a Leni lenape merchant, besides us. Neconis insisted we all join him for dinner and regaled us with tales of all the activity in the harbor. The merchant then blathered endlessly about his travels. John and I said little, but encouraged the others to talk. Neconis told us that ships were going in and out of the harbor all the time. The navy was quite large now consisting of at least a hundred ships. All the ships were equipped with cannon. He was certain that one or two of the ships had been lost at sea. I was amazed that he got all this information, since he seemed rather isolated.

The merchant had been trading between the coast and the Missi Sipi River. He confided that the Ani Yun’-wiya were very shrewd traders as were the Taunika and the Tsoyaha. The Hotcangara were rather brash, however, much too quick to make a trade, and the Pansfalaya did not appreciate the value of their goods. He also mentioned that the Timacua were a stingy people and the Southeastern Cities were recovering nicely and starting to buy as were the Iyehyeh. The Great Sound Tribes and the local tribes were very hard to get to buy anything. That was a good deal more information than I needed and I suspected about as accurate as most generalizations tended to be. We turned in as soon as we could politely break away.

The next morning we rode southwest along the outskirts of the town toward the encampment south of it. I presented myself to the jagun commander, Daganawida, a Wendat. I asked after Hadebah and he told me he had gone on campaign. He added that he expected to also do so later this year. I mentioned I would as well. I gave him my letters to Luis, Watomika, and my sister, and he assured me they would be sent very soon. I thanked him and wished him well on campaign. He wished me the same.

As we left the encampment, I noticed that there was now a bridge over the north branch of the Chesapeak River. It was well south of the mouth where the port was but only a little south of the encampment. We crossed there and continued west. To my surprise all the larger rivers were now bridged along this road and the smaller ones were no problem to ford this time of year. There was even a bridge across the Powhatan River about a day’s ride from Longjiang, but we stayed on the south bank. Some six days later we were climbing over the mountain passes near the source of the river. It was now that John directed me toward Ayun’ini. He first led south then west again, then a little south once more. Finally we arrived at a little encampment toward evening. Ayun’ini and Egwani were standing by the fire waiting for us as we rode up.

“Welcome, welcome,” they greeted us.

I was surprised to note that Egwani was neither pregnant nor holding a child. I thought surely she would have married Ayun’ini, but, of course, I said nothing. After all, perhaps she could not have children. They both seemed very happy and familiar as though they were a couple, but I could hardly ask about such a thing. Anyway, they had ready a strange stew, which while oddly tasty, did not seem to have any meat or fish in it. After dinner we chatted a bit about what we had done since last we met.

It seemed they had stayed in this relatively uninhabited area and “learned from each other.” John waxed eloquently about his visit to Ayun’ini’s special place in the west, and all of its power places. Ayun’ini seemed to listen indulgently, but did not appear to be particularly interested in his old haunt. He was more concerned with what John had learned in the dream world over the past years. They soon lost me during that conversation, but he was apparently pleased with John’s progress. Before turning in, John and Egwani again did their “song” of the dream world. It was so beautiful it almost brought me to tears. I can’t really explain that either. Although I am quite familiar with the songs and chants of the Ani’ Yun’-wiya and to some extent those of the various Nahual-speaking people of Anahuac, I have never heard such hauntingly beautiful music. I slept well that night and did not remember any dreams the next morning.

After breakfast I asked Ayun’ini what he planned to do the next few years. He told me that he rarely planned; he just went as his guides suggested. I asked what they had suggested for the next few years. He replied that they only suggested a change or a movement when it was warranted.

“So, you will remain here until it is ‘suggested’ that you move?”

 

“It has already been suggested that we move. Apparently an assassin has followed you. It seems this is not the first time either, is it?”

“No. Where is the miscreant?”
“Do you mean to harm him?”
“I was thinking of sending him to meet his ancestors and explain his behavior to them.”
“There is no need for that. You may safely go your way today. I can deal with the poor misguided soul.” “You can’t expect me to wander blithely on my way while someone is threatening my son.”

“Of course.” He sighed. “Very well. Go about a li to the north and you will find him. You will also see why you need not worry about your son’s safety while he is with me.”

 

“I will be back shortly.”

I mounted up and rode north the short distance. There in a small clearing I came upon a man curled up against a tree, quivering in terror. His weapons were lying uselessly about him and he seemed to be looking at something in front of him. He did not appear to be aware of me at all. I asked him what was bothering him, but he didn’t hear me. I didn’t recognize him, but from his appearance and dress, I could see that he was from Anahuac. I tried speaking to him in Nahual, but he did not acknowledge me at all. I returned to Ayun’ini’s camp.

“You found him?” he asked.
“Yes. What is wrong with him?”
“He thinks a huge bear has cornered him and is eyeing him hungrily.”
“How long will he remain like that?”

“Until it is too dark to travel this evening. I suspect by morning he will return whence he came. If he continues on his mission, he will again find the bear.”

“Can’t he tell it isn’t real since it isn’t attacking him?”
“He is paralyzed by his fear. Did you not notice that he neither saw nor heard you?”
“Yes, I even spoke to him in Nahual and he did not respond.”
“His mind is completely given over to terror. Did you not see such behavior when you were in battle?” “You mean when the enemy throws down their arms and run blindly from the field?”
“Yes.”
“I have seen that, but I can’t say that I ever experienced it. I was always too busy to think to be afraid.”

“I see. Well, my weapons would probably not work on you. But I think you will find most men are like him rather than like you.”

“Really?”
“Yes. Put another way he is simply more self-aware than you are.”
“What do you mean?”

“He is more sensitive to his own danger than to that of others around him. Even men who seem to be brave in battle are so because they fear being disgraced more than they fear death.”

“You seem rather cynical about warriors.”
“Many of them have told me this. Believe me you are the exception.”

“I went through several battles with the Maya Ordu, and even though they were virtually wiped out, they never faltered or showed any fear. They only balked at killing the enemy from afar in safety rather than closing with them at their peril.”

“The Maya are a warrior people. From childhood they are taught it is better to die than to flee. Their disgrace would taint all their family and even their village. I assure you, you are the exception.”

“Somehow I’m not sure you mean that as a compliment.”
“Well, consider, how brave is it to face death when you don’t fear it?”
“I’ve never thought of myself as being particularly brave.”

“You are wrong. You are actually very brave—but not because you do not flee from battle. You are brave because you are willing to accept what you don’t understand out of love for one you cannot see or feel except in the dream world.”

“You think loving another is courageous?”
“It is like being surrounded by an army with no weapons at hand.”

“It was nothing like that. It was the most wonderful thing in my life. I never felt so alive and happy. I go back to that time in my mind whenever I can. I have no regrets at all.”

“Perhaps you are far more advanced spiritually than you think.”
“I can’t say that I’ve given it any thought.”
“But you have lived it.”

After that strange conversation, I took John aside and asked him once again if he was certain he wanted to stay with Ayun’ini. He assured me that he did. I then told him to learn what he needed to learn and if anything should happen, his uncle Theodore would always be nearby to help him, just as he always seemed to appear when I needed help. He smiled and said he knew about Theodore—Mahwissa had already explained it to him. I wondered about that, but I told him to keep in touch with me in my dreams and know that I would return for him when I got back from campaign. I urged him to take good care of Cuauhtzin and reminded him of his needs. We hugged each other tightly; then I mounted my horse, urged Ayun’ini and Egwani to keep John safe for me, and I rode off to the southwest. As I rode away, Cuauhtzin sent me off with an ear-ringing shriek, but remained firmly attached to John’s shoulder.

I had decided to visit Theodore once more before setting sail for the Khanate of the Clouds. There was no hurry, so I eschewed the roads and trails and just wandered through the mountains. I would occasionally come upon an Ani’ Yun’-wiya village or town, but I would bypass it avoiding contact with anybody. For some reason, I very much wanted to be alone. Carlotta was right about my missing John—I missed him more than I thought possible. I also very much missed Cuauhtzin, and again found myself reaching absently up to my shoulder to give him a scratch and finding only air.
Because of the Ani’ Yun’-wiya custom of burning the underbrush on the mountains in the spring and fall, the passage was quite easy and game was plentiful. I did not hunt, however, although I did stop to fish once. It took just about three weeks to reach Theodore’s town. I arrived near dusk, just in time to join him in the sweat lodge. He did not intrude on my thoughts, but we quietly sweated together, then washed off in the river. Once we had dried off, we walked back toward his house.

“So, the boy is with the mystic now?”
“Yes.”
“And the bird also?”
“Yes. He has transferred his allegiance to John, I think.”
“You still intend to go on campaign?”
“Yes.”
“Cimnashote is waiting for you in Tonggye.”
“I’ll join him soon.”
“I’m glad you came here first.”
“I just wanted to make sure you transferred your surveillance from me to John.”
“Of course. Interesting what the mystic did to that assassin, eh?”
“You know about that?”

“Yes. The poor wretch ran wildly for several days toward the north, then the east, and almost drowned himself when he fell into a river. He ended up in the Snake Ordu where he has volunteered to go on campaign in the Green Mist, I understand.”

“How could you possibly know all that already?”
“I have my sources.”
“Never mind. Do I need to fish for you before I go.”
“No. We always have more food than we can possibly eat. Just relax for a few days. Do nothing.” “Very well.”

The next day I rose late to find Theodore already at his clinic. I went for a long walk along the river. It was a warm day, insects were buzzing around, and the air was damp and heavy, smelling of rain. The sky was overcast, but it did not look as though rain was imminent. I meandered back to the house arriving a little after midday just as the wind picked up. The clouds began to darken and flashes of lightning were visible in the south. Mahwissa offered me a light meal as I entered the house. I sat and ate it quietly looking out at the rain for a while, and then I decided to ask her something.

“When I said good-bye to John, I told him that Theodore would look after him the way he had always looked after me. Then he said you had already explained it to him. What did he mean by that?”

“Did you really think Theodore had a network of spies watching out for you all these years?” “Of course.”
“Oh.” She shook her head. “I didn’t know you believed that.”
“How else would he always seem to know what was going on in my life?”

“Well, he does have a network of friends who do keep him informed about things, but as the years have gone by he has increasingly made use of another source of information.”

“What other source might that be?”
“Me.”
“You?”

“Yes. I look for you in the dream world every evening and tell him if you’re in any danger. He didn’t rely on me at first, but as his sources continuously confirmed what I told him, he slowly came to trust me more and more. Now he trusts me completely.”

“So, you also wander about freely in the dream world the way John does?”
“I’m not sure it’s freely. I only go where I have reason to go. Otherwise it would not be right.” “Did you have this ability from the time you were a child, the way he does, or did you have to develop it?”

“I gradually became aware of the ability when I was a child, but I was kept too busy to spend much time there. As I grew older I began to understand the possibilities and the advantages of it. It was especially useful when Theodore was away. I could satisfy myself that he was safe.”

“Did you find it distracting from the real world?”

 

“As everything else in life, one needs to have balance. But it, too, is part of the real world. You should know that. After all, you have also been there.”

“So John has told me. But it doesn’t seem real to me.”
“Yet you go there for advice and guidance for your life in the ‘real’ world. How do you reconcile that?” “I see your point. I suppose I just worry that John will miss life by spending too much time in the dream world.”

“Actually, the opposite is true. He is learning to integrate the two worlds so that he can live in both simultaneously.”

“That is possible?”
“Yes. It is difficult, but possible.”
“Do you think he will succeed?”
“Yes. I do.”
“And this mystic, Ayun’ini, can teach him that skill?”
“He has mastered it; he should be able to teach it.”

“He seems like an odd sort. I thought he and Egwani would already have a child by now, but I’m not sure that is their relationship.”

“And you wouldn’t dream of asking them?”
“Of course not. It isn’t proper.”
“But you are hinting that I might know?”
“You are right.” I blanched. “Never mind, it isn’t any of my business.”
“Indeed.”

I walked out since the rain had stopped and breathed in the fresh smells of the newly dampened soil. I had decided to trust that John was safe and pry no more into the matter. Sometimes one had to know when to let go of something. I found myself sighing heavily and decided to get the sweat lodge ready and spend a little extra time in there myself. As it turned out, Theodore must have run out of patients early for he soon joined me. We enjoyed the heat in silence again, not speaking until after we had dried off from our plunge in the river.

“I suppose I might as well go join Cimnashote tomorrow.”

 

“The troop ship will be leaving in ten days. You can reach Tonggye in about six, but perhaps it would be best if you went so you can keep him out of trouble before you go.”

“Is he acting up?”
“No, but he is rather morose. People can do strange things in that frame of mind.”
“He is still mourning his lost love. I can understand that.”
“Your love was at least as strong, but you do not mope about.”
“But Carlotta is with me all the time.”
“And his love is with him. He just doesn’t realize it. Perhaps you can help him find her again.” “I’ll try.”

The next morning I mounted up after a good breakfast, bade Theodore and Mahwissa farewell, and headed south to Tonggye. It did indeed take over six days to reach there. It was still morning on the seventh day when I arrived. The town was much larger than I remembered it. There was a new suspension bridge across the river and a full complement of wet and dry docks. There were many ships in the port, mostly merchant ships, but there were three of the huge ships and quite a few of the fuchuan type also. The town was surrounded with troop encampments and the streets were filled with warriors and sailors milling around making purchases, getting in fights, trading things, showing off their skills, and the like. I had to wonder how I would ever find Cimnashote in this mob.

I needn’t have worried. I was barely checked into an inn when he presented himself at my door. He had seen me ride across the bridge and had been trying to catch up with me for a while. He had been camping alone on the far side of the river in a spot where he could fish and still keep an eye on the bridge. I urged him to join me— and he agreed. I asked about our ship. He said that one of the fuchuan type ships would be going to the Khanate of the Clouds with the handful of volunteers for that campaign. All the rest were leaving for the Green Mist. He confirmed that our ship would leave in three days.

We spent the days wandering around the town and its outskirts oblivious of all the activity around us talking about our loves. I urged him to ask his spirit guide to bring his wife to him as mine had brought mine to me. He finally agreed to try, and we found a rare quiet spot for him, and I made sure he was not disturbed. When he was finished, he confirmed that he had been successful and seemed to be more at peace although still a little wistful. I could understand that well enough.

At dawn on the third day, we were rowed out to our boat and climbed aboard. At high tide we moved out of the harbor under half sail and turned south toward the mouth of the bay and into the sea. It was the last time I saw the mainland of the Blue Sky.

47
Tonggye to Tamalameque 111 K
(Mobile AL to NC Colombia, 1479)

The first leg of the trip, to Xaymaca, was uneventful. There were perhaps a hundred passengers aboard. About a dozen were merchants, the rest warriors. Most of the latter were grizzled veterans looking for a change of scenery. I supposed Cimnashote would have to be placed in that category. A handful was fresh-faced boys off to their first campaign, but for whatever reason wanting to serve in the Clouds instead of the Mist. From the look of them I could see that most of the veterans were from the northeast, Mingue, with a few from the northeast bands. The rest were from the southeast, Pansfalaya, Timacua, Chikasha, Tsoyaha, and Taunika. There was one Dinne. The youngsters were all from the northwest, Siksika, Nomo, Ka-i-gwu, Nimipu, Salst, Numakiki and even a Kusa. There were no relatives of mine among them, but we chatted amiably during the trip. Everyone treated me with more deference than I felt was warranted.

We pulled into the same port on the northwestern coast of the island that I had visited on the way to my first campaign. There were, of course, many more ships in the port and only one was one of the old Koryo merchant ships that dominated back then. The others were all fuchuan ships like ours. We were told to stay on the ship unless we had business on the island. Only a few merchants debarked. I noticed that the town was still rather small and there was no pier or docks of any kind. All loading and unloading had to be done from small boats. A handful of passengers joined us. Most were merchants but there were a few warriors and one odd-looking individual. The warriors were all from Anahuac and immediately knew who I was and made a big fuss over me. The odd-looking fellow was also from Anahuac, but wandered apart and made every effort to be inconspicuous. I had to assume my dear cousin had sent another hapless assassin after me. He was so obvious, however, that I began to have some doubts, and began looking at the others more critically. There were six warriors from Anahuac. Two were Maya on their first campaign. They knew me by reputation among the Maya, where I am revered. The others were all veterans, one was a Totonaca, one a Huaxteca, one an Otomi, and one was from Texcalla. I was sure the Maya were genuine. Of the others it was too easy to suspect the Texcalla, but I had to anyway. The Huaxteca was unlikely as was the Otomi. The Totonaca was the most suspicious. Of course, the Totonaca were always hard to figure out since they seemed to have very shifting loyalties. Still I couldn’t be sure.

We set sail with tide that evening, and I was no closer to figuring out who was the likely assassin. I decided not to say anything to Cimnashote since his newly won serenity had been so long in coming. Instead I made a point of chatting with the new arrivals about their homes and some of their fellow tribesmen I knew. I was hoping to draw out a fraud among them. It didn’t work; all seemed to be what they said they were. I wondered if one of them had been subverted by promises of reward and began to probe for ambition among them. This was inconclusive although Cimnashote finally took me aside and asked what I was up to. I told him I was just trying to get a feel for what was going on in Anahuac, but he gave me a rather suspicious look, and went off muttering something under his breath.

At evening meal I continued my scrutiny of the new arrivals, this time focusing on the one who had remained apart and the merchants. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought the odd one was from Chalco. Once I heard him speak, I was sure of it. I went over to him, much to his consternation, and asked how things were in Chalco. He stammered that he didn’t know since he was from Cholula. I assured him that his speech gave him away, he was from Chalco, and while he may have passed through Cholula, he certainly hadn’t spent enough time there to adopt their accent. He looked at me with alarm, then turned aside, and beckoned me to follow him. Once we were a little apart, I kept a close look on his hands to see if he would draw a weapon, but he dropped his voice to a barely audible whisper.

“Yes, I am from Chalco. I am fleeing the wrath of your cousin, the Khan. I had heard that you are also no friend of his, so perhaps you won’t betray me?”

“No, I won’t betray you. Of course, you seem quite good at betraying yourself. How did you ever get this far?” “I dressed like the warriors and joined them. No one ever stops warriors on their way to campaign.” “I see. What did you do to incur the little wretch’s wrath?”

“I am an artist. I painted a picture of his mother. He took exception to it when it was presented to him and ordered me executed. Fortunately, a friend of mine at the palace got word to me in time and I escaped.” “What was wrong with your picture?”

 

“I don’t know. I didn’t know what she looked like, but my father had seen her and described her to me. He assured me the likeness was perfect when I was finished, but apparently the Khan did not agree.” “He was about six years old when he last saw her. She was, I suppose, an attractive woman, but her vile spirit seeped through the veneer of her looks making her rather evil looking, I would say.”

“My father thought she looked more like a tart.”
“Yes, she could look like that also. You painted her looking like a tart?”

“I didn’t think so. I tried to soften her looks enough to limit that look to no more than a hint. My father called the portrait flattering.”

 

“Well, the boy has a very fictional view of his mother, which only he could adequately portray if he had any such talent. Was his wrath confined to you or did he also go after your family?”

“There is only my father and he left on a journey before I sent the portrait to the Khan.”
“Good. If you can get word to him, tell him not to return, but to settle elsewhere and perhaps change his name.” “I never thought he would go after my father.”
“He’s tried to kill my son as well as me, so why not your father?”
“He is so young to be so evil.”
“I guess you didn’t know his parents, did you?”
“Only by reputation. I see your point.”

“Anyway, I suspect one of those who got aboard with you is another of the brat’s assassins. It would probably be best if you stayed near me until I deal with him. Once we get to the Khanate of the Clouds, however, it would be better if you go your way and give no one on shore the least impression that you know me.”

“I will do what you say. Do you really think one of them is an assassin? They seemed like fine warriors to me.” “It could be one of the merchants. I will now turn my attention to them. Do you know anything about them?”

“They didn’t come here with us, and they didn’t stay in the same inn where we were. I don’t know anything about them, I’m afraid.”

 

“No matter. I’ll look them over.”

While the artist, whose name turned out to be Citlalatonac, made friends with the bemused Cimnashote, I made the rounds of the merchants. Two were from Chalca and knew my sister Sarah and her husband. They had heard that they had died and mentioned seeing my nephew, Chipilotl, who apparently was traveling around the east coast Anahuac and into the Blue Sky. Another of the merchants was from Alcolhua. He explained that he had retired after several campaigns in the Clouds and now traded the fabled quetzalitzli stones from the Muisca at great profit. Two more of the merchants were from Tlatelolco. They dealt in feathers mostly and proudly displayed some of their wares. Three of the merchants were from Coatzacoalcos and dealt in chocolatl, cuauhmecaezotl, and oli. They showed me a kind of chili they had found on Xaymaca. They assured me it was much hotter than anything I had ever had in Anahuac. I popped one of the fresh ones in my mouth and found they were right, but it had the most wonderful flavor. I bought a bag of the ones that had been dried.

As usual it had taken a while to talk to each merchant and it was too late to talk to the other seven. Just looking at them, and watching them blather to each other certainly gave the impression that they were what they appeared to be. But I would have to wait until morning and hope they didn’t make their move that night. Nothing happened that night.

The next morning I started working my way through the rest of the merchants. One was an old Purepecha who had known my old friend, Yquingare of Tuxpan. He had traveled with him before he settled down there. He reminisced about him rather than bragged about his merchandise. That was different, but he was too old to be an assassin. The next one was from Cholula. He was determined to sell me something since he had seen me buy the chilies the night before, so after extensive haggling I bought a nice dagger from him. It seemed that Cholula had become something of a center for metal workers in the last several years. I had no idea why. The next two merchants were Putun Maya who lived in Tuxla, the port in the Khanate of the Clouds from which I had departed after my first campaign. I did not mention Theodore’s friend Juchi. They were on their way home with a large shipment of chocolatl beans. I bought a bag from them. The next one was from Cuauhnahuac. He was very cordial and we reminisced about my birthplace. He claimed to be a feather merchant, but said he was going to the Clouds to buy rather than sell. He became my prime suspect since the most valuable feathers were in the eastern Maya lands not the Khanate of the Clouds. I expressed my surprise at his seeming waste of time, but he assured me that there was a large parrot in the jungles southeast of Cuzco that had incredible blue feathers. The last two merchants claimed to be Tya Nuu. One of them did have a Tya Nuu accent but the other sounded and looked like a Ben Zah. I was immediately suspicious of them also. After all, the Tya Nuu and Ben Zah were long enemies and the former had been almost wiped out during the conquest. The latter had profited greatly from being the people of the wives of my uncles, George and Theodore, and were generally resented in Anahuac. On the other hand, the Ben Zah was clearly a real merchant and showed me the silk he had for sale at too high a price. The Tya Nuu seemed rather taciturn and did not show me anything or even talk much. It was clear that one of these last three was not what he pretended to be. I wasn’t sure, however, which one it was.

I kept an eye and ear on them for the rest of the day, but by evening I still could not be certain, although I was leaning toward the man from Cuauhnahuac, since I had never heard of a large completely blue parrot. Toward midafternoon I moved away from everyone and stood at the rail on the port side of the ship looking out at the water. The sun was shinning and light sparkled off the water drawing my attention. My eyes shifted out of focus and rising off the water was the image of Carlotta. She came toward me above the surface of the water. When she was within an arm’s length of me, she opened her hands and showed me the image of a huge parrot with azure blue feathers and a very large beak.

“It is the Tya Nuu.” Her voice sounded in my head. “The Ben Zah was forced to take him along. He is not at fault. Try not to kill either man.”

I could not understand the desire on her part and on Ayun’ini’s part earlier and on Wodziwob’s part even earlier, to spare these assassins. As far as I was concerned, the world was a better place without them. Still, I gave it some thought and came up with a plan. There was a trapdoor out of which the refuse from the ship was thrown. It was just large enough for a man to fit through it and it was not readily visible unless one was right in front of it. I secured a plank of wood and some rope and placed them near the door. That evening after dinner I got up as if to relieve myself and noticed with satisfaction that the Tya Nuu got up and followed me. I quickly turned a corner and dropped down out of sight behind some water barrels. He came on, just visible in the moonlight. I could see him looking for me. Finally he crouched down just in front of where I was hiding to wait for me. I waited a short while to make sure no one else was coming, then brought down the handle of my sword on his head, knocking him unconscious. I then tied him loosely to the plank, gagged him and lowered him out of the trapdoor into the sea. I then blithely returned to the others and sat down as if nothing had happened. I did notice that the Ben Zah was looking after me for a while and then got up to retrace my steps. When he returned, he sat down and said nothing.

I suppose, to be fair, I really didn’t give the wretch much of a chance. Still, he did, technically, have a possibility of survival. We were only a day or so from Xaymaca, and he should have been able to free himself, and with the plank he might have been able to float back to the island. After all, that was the best I could do. Oddly enough, no one said anything about the missing man. The Ben Zah did keep looking at me nervously and made a point never to be out of the company of others. I felt sorry for him, but not enough to reassure him that I bore him no ill will. To be honest, I did bear him some ill will, but felt constrained to suppress it.

The rest of the trip was pleasant and I spent most of it talking to Cimnashote, although we did chat occasionally with the others. In about five days we reached the port of Yumabalikh. This port had been much improved over the years. It was much larger than before and had piers but no shipbuilding facilities. The ship pulled up to a pier and we were able to disembark on a gangplank. An official from the Khanate was on the pier to greet us and welcome us to our service. He recognized me immediately and asked me if I remembered the way to Tamalameque. I assured him I did and he led us to a large house where we were given a good meal; then he led us to a coral just south of town where we were assigned horses. We mounted up and I led the small force south along the Yuma River toward the capital.

As before, the road began on the western bank, then crossed over to the eastern bank over a suspension bridge. The road was even better than I remembered it. It seemed to be paved with dressed stone. I thought that was rather ill advised for the horses, but it served the foot and cart traffic quite well. The yams along the way were quite large and pleasant and the food excellent. As before, we reached the capital in six days. There was a guard post at the entrance to the capital and I presented myself there and asked where we should go. He gave me directions to the barracks in the city where we were to spend the night.

The barracks proved to be on the southern outskirts of the city and the city had grown so large it took quite a while to get there. I noticed we had been directed away from the Khan’s palace (which was on the main road) onto a road that ran in a large semicircle through the eastern part of the city. We reached the barracks at dusk and were welcomed and fed and given a place to sleep. The commander of the barracks welcomed me effusively and told me that my veterans and me would not have to train, but the youngsters would. Tumen would be forming at the old training camp in a few days and we should go on there to get our assignments.

The next day we left after breakfast. The camp had, of course, been moved. It was a few hours’ ride from the barracks. We arrived late in the morning and were waved through the gate. The camp was huge. There must have been fifty thousand men encamped there. We rode up the central road to what looked like a huge parade ground. On the far side of it was the headquarters. I dismounted in front of it and walked toward the entrance. Seeing my rank sash, I was saluted and waved through the door. Inside were some staff officers who all rose and saluted me. I asked to see the commander and one of them entered a room off to the side, then returned to usher me through that door. Inside was none other than Sikopitai, who had been with me on the boat that had brought me here the first time and had trained with me.

“You have aged well, Sikopitai,” I greeted him.
“Not as well as you,” he replied.
“How long have you been commander here?”
“Two years. It is a kind of honorable retirement.”
“Do you model yourself after the memorable Cuauhpopoca?”

“No.” He laughed heartily. “There was only one of him. I am hard on the new recruits, but it’s for their own good.”

“True. That was the best training I ever had.”
“As a returning minghan commander, you will likely be given a tumen to command, you know.” “It isn’t necessary. I’ll take what is available.”

“Well, of course, it isn’t up to me. The Khan’s illustrious brother is in charge of the campaign, but he is already in Cuzco. The Khan’s son, Theodore is slated to lead the five tumen at hand south to join the campaign. The tumen commanders are up to him.”

“Of course.”
“He is your cousin, isn’t he?”
“Yes. Is Nezahualpili here yet?”

“He arrived a while ago and has been training with the other new men. He is still with his unit. He is a fine boy and a good warrior. Is he a friend of yours?”

 

“Yes, very much so. What shall I do with the men who came with me?”

 

“Give their names and ranks to the staff, then take them to the barracks behind this building. It is for unassigned officers. Do you have any nonveterans?”

“Yes, a few.”
“I’ll have one of the staff lead them to the training tumen. You can stay with me if you wish.” “I’d like that. Do you mind if my brother stays also?”
“Theodore is here?”
“No, it is my Ani’ Yun’-wiya brother, Cimnashote.”
“Oh. Of course, he is welcome.”

Sikopitai went out the door and detailed one of his staff to follow me. I went back out and directed the veterans to the barracks and told the new men to follow the staff officer to their new assignment. I beckoned Cimnashote to join me. Sikopitai showed us to a room on the second floor next to his quarters and we stowed our gear, then walked out to look around. I got directions to Nezahualpili’s unit from one of Sikopitai’s staff. He was at the southern end of the camp. We wandered over there. Hot as it was, there was a bustle of activity with units riding, marching, and training in full battle gear all around us. We were both frequently saluted as we walked along. Nezahualpili’s unit looked lean, strong, and confident. They had obviously been trained very well. I found him watching a training exercise with a keen eye. He wore the sash of a jagun commander. I was surprised his rank had not given him a tumen. I also noticed his unit consisted exclusively of Maya. I waited until he dismissed the jagun.

“Nezahualpili, you have grown.”
“Cacalotl! I’d know you anywhere. Welcome, welcome. It is so good to see you again at last.” “And good to see you again. This is my brother, Cimnashote.”
“It is an honor to meet you, sir.”
“How is it you are only a jagun commander?”

“I insisted on beginning training with no rank. My commanders insist I earned the two promotions, but I wonder.”

“You looked every bit the commander a moment ago.”
“Thank you. Praise from you is an honor indeed.”
“How is it that you are with the Maya tumen?”
“I insisted on it.”
“Why?”
“Because you will be given command of it.”
“How do you know that?”

“When I arrived a few weeks ago, I mentioned to Khan Henry that you would be coming and he said that was perfect since a new Maya tumen would be trained and you’d be the ideal commander for it.”

“Does he know you are a part of it?”
“Yes. I told him I would only serve under your command.”

“If I command the Maya tumen, I will not lead them to slaughter in the long-standing tradition. I will see to it that they are given as much chance of survival as any other tumen.”

“I know. I told him you would and he accepted that.”
“Really?”
“Yes.”
“Interesting. How are you getting along with the men?”
“Very well. They are excellent warriors and I’m very proud of them.”

“We are staying with the camp commander until we are assigned. If you are right, I’ll be back in a few days. I’ll leave you now to see to your troops.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

As we strolled back to headquarters, Cimnashote asked how old Nezahualpili was and was shocked to hear he was only fifteen. He had thought he was much older. Sikopitai joined us for dinner and we caught up on what we had been doing all these years. It seemed he had returned shortly after I did and wandered around for a while. Then he had gone back on campaign, but in the Green Mist for five years. He returned home again and married a girl from his village. After a few years, however, he felt compelled to go back on campaign again, this time returning to the Clouds. He had been here ever since. His wife had joined him five years earlier, but left last year because she couldn’t stand the weather here. He was sure he would go on home to stay next year. The next day Khan Henry’s son Theodore came into camp. The five tumen he would be taking south were mounted and rode past him in review. I rode over to the reviewing area with Sikopitai and remained a little behind and off to the side of Theodore where I could look him over. He was a young man of sixteen and rather looked it. He was short and slim, almost slight. He had fine features and a medium complexion. I understood his mother was a Ben Zah, like his great-grandmother had been. He tried to put on a good front, but I could see he was terrified and completely unsure of himself. It was obvious his father was testing him with this relatively easy task of leading us south. I was surprised that he had come alone, with no advisors or entourage. He was able to sit up straight in the saddle and look stern as the warriors passed.

When they had been dismissed, he turned to Sikopitai and rode apart with him for a short distance away from the rest of us. Then after they conferred a short time, he rode with him to headquarters. The rest of us followed at a polite distance. Once there they dismounted and went inside. We also dismounted and waited in front of the building. After a short time, four of the others were called into the building, and they emerged a little while later with the black sash of tumen commanders. Then Sikopitai motioned me to enter. He led me to his office. When I entered the room, Theodore rose to his feet to greet me. Sikopitai left us alone.

“I understand that you are my cousin.” He smiled nervously.
“Yes. Your great-grandfather and namesake was my uncle.”

“Amazing. One would expect you to be ancient. He died long before I was born. It is odd we haven’t met until now, although I just met my other cousin, Khan John, last year. He is a strange boy and seems to very much want you dead.”

“Yes, I know. His choice of assassins leaves much to be desired.”

 

“Apparently word of his attempts on your life have reached the Khakhan. He has sent word to him and to my father advising us that you hold a gerege from him. Do you still have it?”

“Yes, of course.” I pulled it out and presented it to him. “Does the Khakhan finally want it back?” “No. He very much wants you to hold it until you die. Do you know what that means?”
“That it would be very unwise for my dear cousin to have me killed?”

“Oh, that’s only part of it. Even if you are killed in action, the commander of the Ordu will be duty bound to avenge you. If an assassin kills you, he would face a horrible death and whoever sent him would face the same even if he holds the rank of Khan, and happens to be the grandson of the Khakhan. It would seem the Khakhan holds you in great esteem.”

“Well, I have been of some service to him on occasion. I have always found him to be a fair man who holds the interests of the Khakhanate above all others including his own.”

“I hope that can be said about me someday.”
“It is always hard to tell which path we’ll take when we are young.”
“In any case, my father says that you are to lead the Maya tumen. Do you accept the charge?” “I will, as long as they are not to be lead to the slaughter as has been the long-standing tradition.” “We stopped doing that a few years ago. They are brave warriors. It was stupid to waste them like that.” “And unnecessary. They are inclined to take risks as it is.”

“I would be honored, as would my father, if you would take command of the Maya tumen,” he formally said, handing me the black sash.

“I will do so.” I took the sash and replaced my green one with it.
“Thank you. I wonder if I could ask you a personal favor?”
“What is it?”

“Would you mind if your tumen led the way on the march? I would very much appreciate your advice along the way.”

 

“They would be honored. I will be glad to help you, but it has been some time since I have marched this path, I am sure there are more experienced men around.”

 

“Perhaps there are. But they are not my cousins. I feel that if I make a fool of myself, you will not make it generally known. Am I correct to think that?”

“You are very young, Theodore. It is your right to make mistakes. Of course, it is also your duty to learn from them. I will be glad to help you. I don’t think you will have much trouble. In a few days, you will be into the routine and will need no help. After all it is only a march—a very long march to be sure—but still, only a march. Will you be in charge of the campaign at the end of our march?”

“I might be. That is in the hands of my uncle, Ignace. My father said it was unlikely he would stir himself to lead the campaign unless he is ordered to do so. He was thinking about doing just that when I spoke to him last night.”

“If you are to lead the campaign, I will make sure you lead it well. You can count on me. If your uncle leads the campaign, I won’t be able to help you.”

 

“I understand. Perhaps we can discuss tactics and what you have learned over the years along the way.” “By all means. You should also encourage the other tumen commanders to discuss their experiences. You can learn much from them if they are honest.”

 

“How can you tell if they are honest?”

“Notice the reaction of the others. If they are rolling their eyes, clearing their throats excessively, or just appear very uncomfortable, then the speaker is making it up. It they nod, smile, laugh, or shrug comfortably, you are hearing the truth.”

“I see. Thank you, cousin. We are to leave the day after tomorrow. That gives you a whole day to get to know your commanders and fill in any vacancies among your officers. You have full discretion in all promotions, although it is customary to raise the rank of all returning veterans wherever possible.”

“Of course. I will go to them now and I will see you on the march.”
“Please join me for supper tomorrow night.”
“I will be honored.”

I left the room, nodded to Sikopitai and his staff and went out the door. I gathered up Cimnashote and we went over to the Maya tumen. The men were milling around, tending the horses, and getting out of their formal uniforms. When they saw me approach wearing the black sash, an undercurrent of murmuring went through them quickly replaced with a very flattering, spontaneous cheering, and an inappropriate beating of swords against shields. I waved them quiet, hopefully before the whole camp noticed the salute reserved only for Khans had been given to a mere tumen commander. I called them together and in their own language thanked them for their confidence in me and promised to lead them with the respect they deserved, as the bravest warriors in the Ordu to the glory they would surely earn. That set off another loud cheer, but fortunately no more shield beating. I then dismissed them and called for the minghan and jagun commanders to confer with me.

There were only nine minghan commanders since one had been elevated to tumen command, but I had a full complement of one hundred jagun commanders. I told them it would be my policy to promote from the ranks, so the jagun commanders of the minghan that was missing its commander, would elect one of their number to take the position. Once I got to know them better, I would have to approve any future promotions. The ten jagun commanders got together, selected a commander, and presented him to me. I then dismissed the jagun commanders and met with the minghan commanders. I told them when we would commence our march south and that we would be first in line for the whole march. They puffed out a bit when I told them that. I then introduced Cimnashote to them, explained his background and relation to me, and told them that he would be my one and only staff member, with the rank of minghan commander. Should any of them need to be replaced temporarily, he would do so. I then asked them all to join me for evening meal and dismissed them.

Once they were gone, Cimnashote asked me what the likelihood was that he would take over one of the minghans. I assured him it was quite high, there would be quite a few incapacitations along the way, and some of those were likely to be minghan commanders. Meanwhile, I would just as soon he stayed with me so he would be familiar with tumen command in case he had to replace me. He said he couldn’t imagine my ever becoming incapacitated. As we walked over to the command tent, it began to sink in that I was actually in command of a whole tumen. I never would have thought I would be.

48
Tamalameque to Limari River 112 K
(NC Colombia to N Chile, 1480)

That evening I got to know my minghan commanders over dinner. They were all Maya who had risen through the ranks. Two of them, Ah Uk and Na Chi, had been warriors in the tumen with me so long ago. From the prefix names I could tell that the former had never married. They told me that as far as they knew there were only two others of the hundred survivors of that debacle still alive besides us. They were safely retired back home. The other commanders were Na Te, Na Mo’, Na Ha Witz, Na Sak Tun, Na Ich’ Ak, Ah K’uy Nik, Na Tok’, and Na Kin Balam. Two of them sounded like they might be names of the old chieftain families, but it would have been rude to ask. I explained to them that I had been assured they would no longer be sent to the slaughter, but would fight like any other tumen with an eye toward maximum survival while inflicting maximum casualties on the enemy. They confirmed that it had been so during the last campaign and they were relieved to hear that it would remain so. I told them to feel free to bring any potential or actual problems to my attention and be assured that I wanted to hear from them. They were very pleased and assured me that the tumen would be ready and in place by dawn on the day of the march.

I spent the next day looking over the men’s exercises. I was relieved to notice that the Maya were much better with the bow than I remembered them being in my earlier tumen. As usual they excelled with the sword and were quite good with the spear. The officers seemed to all be quite capable. I exchanged a few words with Nezahualpili while looking over his jagun. He had done a fine job with them. That evening I went to headquarters to dine with Theodore and the other tumen commanders.

The other commanders were an impressive group of veterans. Two were from the Blue Sky and two were from Anahuac. The former were Cheokas, a Hainai, and Sose, a Mingue of the tribe called Kaniengehaga. The latter were Miquiztli, a Matlatzinca, and Chachapa from Huexotzinco. All had served for four or five campaigns and had come up through the ranks. I had the least experience of all of them and yet they treated me as at least an equal. They were very impressed that I had risen so far in only one campaign. Theodore gave us the order of march and told us that for the sake of simplicity we would stick with the order for the entire march to Cuzco. Although it was the custom to vary the order of march daily, it was also a nuisance requiring a lot of time wasted sorting out tumen each morning. I think we were all relieved.

The next morning my tumen were up before dawn and lined up and ready when the sun came up. Theodore assumed his position in front of my tumen and gave the signal to start. It was early winter when we started and the weather was still quite mild in the Yuma Valley. As the days wore on, we began to ascend into the mountains and the nights, at least, were cooler and a little drier. Once we reached the high mountain valleys, it was considerably cooler. Of course at some point along the way, we went from what was winter in the north to what was summer in the south. I should also mention how improved the road was. It had been widened considerably and all rivers and streams along the way were crossed with stone bridges. It took us about eightyfive days to reach Cuzco.

Along the way I got to know my cousin Theodore quite well. He was woefully inexperienced and utterly unsure of himself, but he was bright and very willing to learn. He learned much on the march. By the time we reached Cuzco, he was very relaxed in command and had an air of quiet competence. Of course, I hated to think what would happen if he had to lead us in battle. Along the way I also found time to teach Cimnashote a smattering of Maya so he could follow along on our tumen meetings. He was no linguist, in fact his Mongol was still heavily accented, but he enjoyed learning Maya and felt it was a “good” language. He felt that it was impossible to speak Nahual without getting your tongue-tied. Also, as I had expected, one of the minghan commanders, Na Tok’, died suddenly along the march and Cimnashote led his minghan for a few days until we could stop long enough to pick a successor from among his jagun commanders. This proved to be Na Itzam Bak, another one with the name of a chieftain.

I also learned along the way that Theodore and I had something in common. He also had a parrot. His was one of the smaller green ones that are common around Tamalameque. He had given it the unwieldy name of Q’omer-inti-tuso’h, the Quechua words for “green sun dancer.” But he told me that if I saw her feathers in sunlight I would see that they were like a shimmering green liquid. It would make your eyes go out of focus so you could no longer see the individual feathers. He said the feathers were many different shades of green on the upper surface. On the underside they were deep blue, black, red, and blue green. He assured me that they were very hard to see in the jungle. We had a good time exchanging bird stories. He insisted that Q’omer could sing beautifully and played tirelessly. I could never accuse Cuauhtzin of either. I hesitate to even think of that voice of his raised in song and he has always been much too dignified to play.

As we neared Cuzco, we passed Sacsahuaman, the old fortress that had once protected the city. Theodore asked me about that battle and I promised to bring him out to the ruin once we were camped and tell him all about the battle. It wouldn’t be hard; it was all too fresh in my memory still. As we neared the city, which I noticed had spread out quite a bit to the east and southwest since my previous visit, we were met by sentries who diverted us around the city to a huge encampment to the south. There must have been ten tumen encamped on either side of the road in a huge tent city that rivaled Cuzco in size. We were directed to set up our camp at the southern end of the camp.

Once we got our camp under way, Theodore felt that he should call on his uncle, but he wanted me to come along. I suggested that we first determine who was commander of the encampment and pay our respects to him. He agreed. I rode over to the nearest of the tumen and found their commander who in turn directed me to the commander of the encampment, Buzun, a Mongol name! I gathered up Theodore and we rode to Buzun’s tent. We were ushered in to meet him at once. He was older than me and his hair was gray and his face wrinkled, but he greeted us with a warm smile. He wore the white Ordu commander sash, but otherwise was unadorned. He looked like he might actually have some Mongol in him, but not much. He looked more like the tribes around Tamalameque, medium height and slender, but muscular. He was very pleased that we had presented ourselves to him first and pressed us to take midday meal with him.

He told us that the plan was to start the march south in five days. The tumen would leave a day apart and reform in the lands, which had once belonged to the Kakan people just north of the Re Che. We would march through the mountain valleys, then cross over to the western slopes of the mountains skirting the desert along the coast, and arrive at the staging area near the coast south of the desert. The march would take each tumen about sixty days, so we should all be in position before the end of winter. The tumen would move out starting from the farthest north so we would be the last to leave the area. When he finished briefing us, he wanted to take us to meet Ignace and we agreed. As we rode through the camp, I asked him if Ignace would be going on the campaign. He said that he doubted it, but he really didn’t know. All he knew for certain was that he was responsible for getting all fifteen tumen to the staging area.

We rode through the streets of Cuzco toward the palace. The city was very clean and a bevy of activity. The market, in an open space southeast of the city called Rimac Pampa, was huge, although still not as large as that in Tlatelolco, but very close to as large as the market in Tamalameque. The locals were as expressionless as ever but they seemed to be pleased—at least as close to being pleased as they could be. We finally reached the palace, built on the site of the palace of Pachacutec, the last Inka, on the north side of the Haucaypata, the huge ceremonial plaza open to the southwest. The palace had the massive stone walls and high thatched roof favored by the Inka. We were ushered inside, but then made to wait in a pleasant open space within the palace compound. There was a pond in the middle and plants and flowers were everywhere. We were even served refreshments while we waited.
Around dusk we were ushered into the main building and into an audience chamber. There was an ornate chair upon a dais but no chair or bench for anyone else to sit. We stood for a while; then a curtain parted behind the chair and Ignace lurched in leaning warily on a thick staff, and dropped heavily into the lone chair. He was about seven years older than me, but he looked much older. His overall look could only be described as dissipated. He was rather overweight, but it didn’t look like normal fat deposition; it was all in his belly. His complexion wasn’t just sallow; it was dark yellow. His eyes were droopy and unfocused, with dark rings around them. He barely had enough energy to sit, let along hold an audience. In a barely audible whisper he bid us all welcome and wished us much success on the campaign. He then banged the staff twice on the floor and three young men came through the curtain and gingerly guided him to his feet and dragged him back through the curtain.

We all three stood in silence for a while uncertain of what to do next. Then the curtain parted again and a lovely young lady of marriageable age came out and bowing to us led us into a room on the right of the audience chamber. She introduced herself as Paula, the daughter of Ignace, and sat us down at a small table for evening meal. She remained with us chatting amiably and eating almost nothing. She seemed to be very poised and confident giving me the distinct impression that she was in control of things in the palace, but I couldn’t help but notice that she never really made eye contact with us. She made no mention of her father’s condition and none of us felt it polite to bring it up. But what was really puzzling was that she didn’t seem to know or acknowledge her cousin. It was not at all surprising that she didn’t know me, but Theodore was her first cousin. Even stranger, he did not make any attempt to refer to their kinship. I had to assume there was some trouble between them, but neither seemed hostile only detached.

After dinner, Paula led us out to the courtyard again, and wishing us well on our campaign, left us. I was about to say something when a guard came up and led us again to the door where our horses were waiting for us along with another guard carrying a torch to lead us back to camp. We rode back in silence to Buzun’s camp. Once there we dismissed the guard with the torch and entered Buzun’s tent. He showed us to some chairs and served us a little strong drink.

“Well”—he shook his head—“I strongly suspect that Ignace will not be joining us on campaign. In fact, it looks like he will be joining his ancestors instead.”

 

“He does look terrible,” Theodore agreed. “What’s wrong with him?”

 

“I don’t know,” Buzun shrugged. “I haven’t seen him in a long time. He looks much worse now than he did then.”

“So,” I asked, “will you be leading the campaign, Buzun?”
“I doubt it. I suspect Khan Henry will appoint you, young Theodore.”

“Oh, no.” He seemed genuinely uncomfortable. “Everyone else has much more experience than I do. He couldn’t entrust such a task to me. He wouldn’t.”

“Why don’t you think you will be asked to command?” I pressed Buzun.
“I am not related to the Khan in any way. Important campaigns are always led by relatives of the Khan.” “But you will take part in the campaign?”
“Oh, of course. I wouldn’t miss it.”

We chatted a bit more on less important subjects, then excused ourselves after inviting Buzun to join us for an evening meal before he left for the south. He promised to do so. We mounted up and headed back to our encampment. The light from the campfires made it easy to find our way. When we reached Theodore’s tent, he asked me to join him for a little while. I followed him in.

“Do you think it’s really possible that my father would put me in charge of this campaign?” “Yes, very possible. But don’t concern yourself. You’ll have good advisors to guide you. Buzun seems quite competent. Besides, your father had the smothering guidance of the execrable Dehahuit.”

 

“I suppose you remember him from your first campaign. Father hated him so much.”

 

“I’m not surprised. He treated your father with ill-disguised contempt. Of course, he treated everyone else the same way.”

“You will help me also?”
“If you need me, I’ll be near. But tell me something, do you and your cousin, Paula, not know each other?”

“I haven’t seen her since I was a baby. Uncle Ignace moved his family to Cuzco after he was put in command here, and I have always lived in Tamalameque. If she hadn’t introduced herself, I wouldn’t have known who she was. I’m sure she didn’t know who I was.”

“Why didn’t you make yourself known to her?”

 

“She has enough on her mind. Did you see the brave way she kept chattering about nothing so we couldn’t ask about her father? I am impressed by her. I hope she marries well.”

The next day we spent settling into the camp routine and making sure everything was as it should be. The following day I took Theodore and Cimnashote to Sacsahuaman and showed and told them all about the battle. They were amazed at the fortress and wondered how they ever got the huge stones in place. Cimnashote asked the sort of questions that showed he understood what battle was all about. Theodore asked the questions of a child. I answered both as best I could. I was developing a fondness for Theodore and could see that he had much to learn. I tried to explain the strategy of the battle and use it as a teaching experience, posing various problems and asking him what he would do. He had no idea what to do. With Cimnashote’s help we followed through the possible scenarios and helped him see the larger picture. Slowly it began to dawn on him what we were talking about. We left in the afternoon.

The next morning we left early to visit the market. We were buying some fresh produce to augment our usual fare when we were surprised to see Paula, Ignace’s daughter, followed by an entourage of servants, buying things just like we were. I told Cimnashote who she was and we watched her in action for a while. It was interesting. She bargained like a merchant and picked through the goods like an expert. Except for all the servants carrying her purchases one would never know she had any particular rank. Her dress was silk, but just raw silk and unadorned and she wore a woolen shawl of the type common in the mountains with the hole for the head in the middle, leaving the arms free. She suddenly noticed us and stopped, looking for once, nonplused.

“Lady Paula,” I said. “It is good to see you again. This is my brother, Cimnashote.”
“Lady Paula,” he bowed slightly.

“Oh, sirs,” she said with a very becoming flush in her cheeks as she finally made eye contact with me. “It is good to see you again and to meet you Cimnashote. I must say you and your brother look nothing alike. In fact, your brother looks like…Are you related to me, sir?”

“Yes. Your great-grandfather was my uncle. My name is Karl. This is your cousin, Theodore.” “Oh!” Her flush deepened considerably. “I had no idea. I should have recognized you the other day. I am so sorry. Father never mentioned that you’d be coming. You must stay at the palace.”

“No, Paula,” Theodore said. “I must stay with my men. Don’t feel badly, I didn’t recognize you either until you identified yourself. You have your hands full taking care of Uncle Ignace. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be going on campaign soon anyway.”

“Please. You must come back to the palace for a day before you go. I won’t forgive myself if I can’t receive my cousins properly.”

“If you wish. Send us word and we’ll be there.”
“Oh, thank you. I’ll prepare a proper banquet.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“But I want you to taste all the local delicacies.”
“As you wish.”
“Thank you. I’ll send word soon.”

“Poor thing,” Theodore said after she had gone. “She was so upset about not recognizing me. Perhaps you shouldn’t have told her who I was even if she did finally realize you had to be a relative.”

 

“She’s probably still trying to figure out who Cimnashote is,” I laughed.

 

“You should stop calling me your brother,” Cimnashote chimed in. “It is very confusing to people outside of Itsati.”

 

“You have always been my brother and you always will be.”

 

“Yes, of course, but the poor girl looked so perplexed. When she invites you to your banquet, I’ll stay in camp and you can explain to her what our relation actually is.”

 

“Let’s see, you are the son of my father’s first wife’s nephew. That makes us—not really related. You are my half brothers’ and sisters’ cousin and my father is your granduncle, but we are not related.” “We are cousins, you fool.”

 

“What are you two talking about?” Theodore interjected. “Some tribes consider cousins brothers. I’m sure you are as related to me as Karl is, and when she invites us, you will come also.”

“If you insist.”
“I do.”

With that exchange we took our purchases and left the market, returning to camp. I was rather surprised that Theodore had so accepted Cimnashote as a relative. I think he was the first member of his family to actually be something like his great-grandfather. I know my father had thought highly of Uncle Theodore or he would never have named my brother after him. We got our summons to the palace four days later. Paula asked us to come in the morning. This proved to be rather difficult because the tumen had already started moving south and we had to ride around the camp to stay out of their way. We arrived in the middle of the morning. Paula was at the door to the palace mounted on her horse, waiting for us. She greeted us all warmly and led us on a tour around the city.

She took us first to the north just below Sacsahuaman to show us the storehouses that had been built by the Inka and were still in use by her father. Next we went to the eastern edge of the city where the Inka’s favorite flower was cultivated. It was a medium-sized pink flower with many small thin petals radiating out from the center. It was still cultivated since Ignace also liked it. To the south of the flower district there was the area where the Inka had kept lions, or pumas as they were called locally, as tame pets. It was now a residential area with many new houses. South of this area were two more residential areas and then the market. Crossing the Tullumayo River over a stone bridge we reached the Pumapchupan or Puma’s tail part of the city. According to legend the city had the rough form of a puma with Sacsahuaman in the north as its head and this narrow area where the two rivers join as its tail.

It this area was the Temple of the Sun, or Inti Cancha in Quechua. It had been left as it was after Henry had removed all the gold when the city was conquered. It had four small shrines in pairs, on opposite sides of a court. A larger temple was on the court and opened on to three sides of it. There were niches in the walls of the shrines, which had once contained cult objects, or the mummified remains of past Inkas. Apparently there had once been many objects of gold and silver and even plates of gold and silver covered the walls. Paula said that she had been told that there had been a gold band set into the masonry on the temple like a cornice. Also there had been gold thread woven into designs on the thatch roof of the temple. Although not used, the temple was kept clean and the thatch roof replaced as necessary by the locals. Near the temple was the Inti Pampa where, Paula said, there had been a golden garden with golden clods of soil, golden centli cobs with silver stems and leaves and even golden llamas. There was also an enclosure for sacrificial animals. She mentioned that there had been an even more elaborate gold and silver garden in the palace but that had been looted by the auxiliaries before any of our people got a chance to see it. She had been told there were representations of many different animals in their appropriate settings all in gold and silver.

Across the Huatanay River from the Pumapchupan was what had been a town called Cayaucachi, but it had now been absorbed by the city. North of that, the area was heavily cultivated all the way to the hills. We recrossed the Huatanay River into the large Huacaypata plaza in front of the Palace. We dismounted and entered the palace. Paula led us to the courtyard garden and we had midday meal there. During the meal she and Theodore exchanged descriptions of their childhoods and tried to see if they had any acquaintances in common. They didn’t. Cimnashote and I listened to all this quietly.

After midday meal, Paula showed us around the palace. Toward the entrance on the right was a map room with a large map of the southern landmass. I was the only one interested in it so we couldn’t linger there. To the left of the entrance was a modest library. It had a few copies of the books I had seen in Tlatelolco, but most of the books were written in Quechua and apparently contained the local lore compiled by educated survivors who had learned the Uighur script and had tried to bend it around their language. I didn’t know enough of the language to read them. Again I was once more the only one interested in that room, so we couldn’t linger there either.

To the left of the central courtyard was a sort of treasure room where Ignace had on display gifts he had been given. These were mostly elaborate textiles of wool and cotton, complicated ceramics and gold, silver and copper ornaments. I suspected that he should have sent these on to his brother, but it was none of my business. Paula was very taken by the textiles and ceramics and went into great detail why they were special. It is possible that Cimnashote was less interested in this than I was, but I doubt it. Unfortunately, Theodore was fascinated and encouraged her to elaborate painfully. Finally it grew dark and we were ushered into the dining area for dinner. It proved to be as she promised a banquet of all the local delicacies. She graciously explained them all, probably giving us more information that we needed unless we planned to prepare them ourselves—a very unlikely prospect.

When we finally escaped it was quite late. Paula had offered to have a torch-bearing guard go with us, but there was a full moon and it really wasn’t necessary. All the way back to camp, Theodore kept waxing eloquently about our host. It was too dark to see, but Cimnashote and I were exchanging long-suffering glances. When we dropped Theodore off at his tent, he wanted to prattle on, but we pointed out that it was late and we needed to see to the troops early the next morning. We really didn’t, we just wanted to get away. When we regained our tent, Cimnashote muttered that I should remind Theodore that Paula is his cousin and that if we were invited back he would volunteer to lead an expedition into the jungle. I assured him I would do everything in my power to prevent another such day. Actually if they had left me alone in the map room or the library, I would have had a wonderful time.

The next evening Buzun came over for evening meal. He would be leaving the next morning and wanted to make certain we were aware of the march route. He brought a rough map with him, which made sense to me at least, if not Theodore. I later had copies of it made for the other tumen commanders who had come with us and went over it with them to make sure they understood it. I was not familiar with the area of the march so I asked Buzun about it. He explained that the terrain would be the rough puna type much of the way. The road led southeast to the great lake called Titicaca in the lands of the Aymara. It followed the western shore of the lake for a while before turning south and continuing in that direction the rest of the way. The road would eventually lead to a pass out of the mountains and run east and above the large coastal desert of the Atacames people. He did warn us that the land was harsh and recommended that we give the men the coca leaves to chew until they descended from the high plain around the lake.

During the seven days before our five tumen started leaving, Theodore managed to visit his cousin three times. Cimnashote and I insisted that we had pressing camp business to attend. Finally it was time for us to start. I had decided it was best if my tumen went first of our group, but suggested that the others follow at half-day intervals. I realized that Buzun’s plan was to keep us from ravaging the land as we marched, but I didn’t like the idea of being a full day’s march away from reinforcements. The other tumen commanders liked my plan also. Theodore reluctantly came with me forfeiting another evening visiting Paula. I decided not to say anything about her since I was sure he would have his hands and mind full of other things soon enough.

Early on the ninth day of our march, we caught sight of Lake Titicaca. It was not as large as the lakes in the Anishinabe area of the Khakhanate, but still it was quite large and it remained in sight for four days of our march. It was rather a strange sight. The deep blue lake surrounded by the brownish rolling hills of puna surrounded by the high snow-covered mountains. Buzun had been right about the coca leaves; without them it was hard to breathe at this altitude. Just riding along the slightly hilly puna felt like climbing a tall mountain. I was glad I wasn’t in on the conquest of this area—it must have been exhausting. As I recall, there had been some resistance among the local tribes.

Some four days later we crossed over a pass to the western side of the mountain range and gained the road that skirted the coastal desert by hugging the slopes of the mountains. We could see the sea in the distance most of the time, but the road did wind in order to avoid the often deep gulches made by the intermittent streams, which were generally dry. After what seemed like an endless march, we arrived at a guard post on the road. The guards directed us to turn off the mountain road and proceed down toward the coast to the staging area on the north bank of the Limari River. It took us two days to reach the camp. Buzun had spread the men out along the river in camps of three tumen each about half a day’s ride apart. We were assigned to the easternmost edge of the line causing us to march back up the river valley to our camp. We were told that all tumen commanders should report to Buzun the morning after the last tumen was in place.

I decided to march my tumen to the easternmost position to make it a little easier on those behind. That took us another two days, but it meant that everyone was in position on the third day. Our campsite was in very difficult terrain; basically it was on the side of a mountain in a scrub forest. On the fourth morning after we arrived, Theodore, the other tumen commanders, and I rode toward the main camp in the middle. It took about a day and a half to reach the camp. Finally we all reached the main camp. Buzun was surprised that we had all got into place so quickly, but pleased about it. He told us that word had reached him that Khan Henry wanted his son, Theodore, to command the Ordu. He then ceremoniously turned his white sash over to Theodore. He asked if Theodore would mind if he stayed on to help and, of course, he was assured he was most welcome. In fact, Theodore asked him to tell us what the situation was.

“The Re Che have been invited to join the Khanate in peace by an official delegation. The delegation was allowed to return disarmed and on foot. The invasion will commence as soon as our new commander determines the path of that invasion.”

“I did not expect to be placed in command,” Theodore began. “Therefore I would like to confer with my advisors before I draw up a plan for our invasion. We will meet again here tomorrow morning.”

The meeting was adjourned and Theodore asked Buzun and me to meet with him as soon as the others left. He admitted that he had no idea what to do and asked for advice. Buzun felt that we should invade across the border in groups of three tumen in roughly the position they were now camped and just run down the length of the land destroying them in place. I said that was possibly a good plan, but I wanted to see a map of the terrain if that was available. He told me it was not since our mappers had not been allowed in and those who had gone in anyway had not returned. I asked if any spies had been dispatched. He said they had, but the few that returned had given only sketchy reports. I asked to speak to them and they were brought in to speak to us.

The spies said that the land ahead was hilly and not well watered. The Re Che were organized into tumen like we were and were camped about two days’ ride south in three large camps in a line from east to west. They had at least as many tumen as we did, although all were not so well armed. The best-armed tumen were in the forward camps and the rest were in reserve. The men of the forward tumen only had one horse apiece, so they were not as mobile as we were. Their cannon were few and were not in evidence among the forward camps. They had sentries posted all along the border to watch our every move, and they fully expected us to attack across the river and expected to intercept us while we were crossing to take us at advantage and secure horses and weapons for the rest of their tumen.
I looked at Buzun in puzzlement. This was hardly a sketchy report and his advice seemed suicidal. Still I held my counsel and told them I needed a little time to formulate a plan, which I would then propose to them. We adjourned and I sought out the most astute-sounding of the spies, a Kakan who called himself Silpitocle, and asked him a few more questions. I ascertained that the eastern extreme of the Re Che lands were only sparingly patrolled, because it was not thought that we could get through the mountains. That was how the spy had managed to get in and out in one piece. He assured me that the way was very difficult, but possible for a small enough force, perhaps two tumen at the most. I began to formulate a plan.

49
The Re Che Campaign 112 K
(Northern Chile. 1480)

I had to bear in mind that Silpitocle’s people had been conquered and virtually wiped out a few years before. Indeed, we had seen scant evidence of their existence along the way. It was possible that he would lead us into a trap and perhaps that was why Buzun had given so little weight to his information. Still, I felt that a surprise attack would give us the best chance for success against this obviously well prepared and led enemy. Before I presented my plan to Theodore and Buzun I needed a little more information.

I called back Silpitocle and asked him about the Re Che. He told me that they used to be very loosely organized into small bands of relatives, which were even more loosely organized into subtribes, Picunche, Mapuche, Wiyiche, and Chilote, from north to south. They spoke completely mutually intelligible dialects of the same language but did tend to fight among themselves with little provocation. When they saw what happened to the Kakan, however, they changed radically. They elected a war chief, Waikiyaf, who was given almost supreme power. He organized them into tumen in imitation of us and rigorously trained the men into a formidable force. They had even tried to rouse both the Chono, the people who lived to their south, and the Chango, the fishing people who live along the coast, to join them, but were not successful. It was obvious he admired them, so I couldn’t be sure if I could trust him.

There was another source I needed to consult. I told Cimnashote to see that I was not disturbed and sat down in my tent. I closed off everything else and went within. Carlotta came to me when I called her. I asked her if I could trust Silpitocle. She told me that he spoke the truth. While he admired the Re Che for their ability to rise to the challenge presented by the Mongols, unlike his people, who did not adapt and paid a very heavy price, he knew that what little future his people had was tied now to the Mongols and he would not betray their interests for anything. She asked if I wanted to fly above the enemy and reconnoiter. It was tempting and I still wonder if I did the right thing, but somehow it did not fit the warrior spirit to take such unfair advantage. She asked me to spare as many of the Re Che as I could and assured me she would watch out for me. There it was again, the request that I spare people who very much wanted me dead. I was perplexed by the great value she seemed to put on the lives of my enemies. Still, I had the information I needed and resolved to respect her wishes and kill no one who didn’t absolutely need to be killed.

I returned to meet with Theodore and Buzun. I explained that I felt confident that we could trust Silpitocle, so I had based my plan on his information. Buzun rolled his eyes, but said nothing. I suggested that all the tumen except the easternmost three should be concentrated between our present position and the coast, along the large open area where the river split into several branches, but in three groups of four tumen about three li apart. They should take a lot of time, perhaps four or five days, getting organized into their new positions, and then each group should start building their pontoon bridges, very slowly across the branches of the river. It should take them at least three days to build them. When all were built, they should make a show of crossing the bridges late in the afternoon and setting up camp right on the bank without sending out any sentries. Then as soon as it got dark, all the men should return across the bridge leaving the camps looking occupied. Meanwhile all our cannon should be massed along the north shore of the river. In all likelihood the Re Che would attack at first light, perhaps under cover of the inevitable fog. When they got in range tear them up with the cannon, then we would attack across the bridges when they fell back in confusion.
Meanwhile I would lead the three easternmost tumen on a surprise attack on their rear. We would appear to withdraw toward the north, but would then turn east into the mountains along a path known to Silpitocle. We would then get well south of the fully armed and mounted forces and fall on their reserves. We would then turn to the north to crush the main force between us. In order for my attack to be successful it was imperative that the rest of the Ordu keep the enemy’s attention by constant activity and once the enemy was engaged across the river, contact with them must be maintained.

Buzun was silent for a while as he considered my plan. The whole thing overwhelmed Theodore. Finally Buzun said that while it was a bold plan and if it worked could bring us great success at minimal cost, it was fraught with danger. He had to admit that most of the danger would be borne by my force. We would be operating behind enemy lines, and if the enemy did not take the bait at the river crossing, but instead detected our movement and went after us we could all be lost and they would have our arms and horses. Also, he wasn’t at all sure Silpitocle could be trusted.

I told him that his points were well taken, but even if we were detected and the bulk of the army came against us, we had superior mobility and could retreat to a mountain pass and hold it against them until the rest of the Ordu brushed aside the screen and came after us. We would fire red rockets if we achieved all our objectives and green ones if we were in trouble. As long as he did exactly as I asked, we had every chance of complete victory. He shrugged and turned to Theodore.

“It could work,” he said. “But it is risky. What do you think?”

 

“If my cousin thinks he can do it,” Theodore replied with surprising calm, “then I’m sure he can. We will do it exactly as he says so that he has every chance.”

 

“Thank you,” I said. “I know it will work. But remember, on the afternoon of the eighth day you must cross the pontoon bridges. That should give me enough time to get into position.”

 

“It will be so,” Buzun assured me.

I wished Theodore well and returned quickly to my camp with Silpitocle in tow. Since I would be in command of three tumen, I was given the white sash of Ordu commander. It was immediately noticed when I arrived in camp, but no one commented since they weren’t sure what it meant. I had given Cimnashote my black sash and put him in temporary charge of my tumen. I called together the other two tumen commanders, Miquiztli and Sose, and told them of the plan. They very much liked it and immediately went out to get their men ready. Meanwhile I called together my minghan commanders and outlined the plan to them. They, too, were very pleased about the plan and soon the camp was a bevy of activity. Early the next morning, we broke camp and rode along a trail leading toward the northeast.

Actually, we first had to go west and then we could turn northeast because we were camped on the south slope of a mountain well above the river. We made lots of noise and held our banners high as we made the turn to the northeast. Our path would keep us in full view all morning to a competent spy, properly positioned across the river from our camp, as we climbed up the slope on the north side of our mountain. By afternoon we were out of sight, but the dust cloud I made certain we caused continued to indicate our movement to the northeast. By late evening we were well into the mountains in a dry gulch surrounded by snow-covered peaks and it was quite cold.

The next day we followed a barely discernible path over a snow-covered pass through the mountains and gingerly began to pick our way along the very rough terrain on the other side. Silpitocle assured me that this had been Kakan land as had most of our path. The Re Che did not live in the mountains like the Kakan did and only crossed them to trade and then only along specific trails which we would have to cross, but would not actually take. He emphasized that it would be very important that we leave no indication that we had crossed those paths when we did. I assured him we knew how to leave no mark behind.

That night we camped below another snow-covered peak. The next morning, Silpitocle went ahead since we would be crossing one of the trade trails, and I made sure the men were rigged for silent marching. He was waiting for us at the “trail”—a vague path at best—and urged us on across it. He was impressed at how quietly we were able to move. Once we had passed that trail, he rode ahead again to check out the next trail. I decided to go with him this time. He was glad since there were actually three trails close together and we had to cross them all before nightfall. Actually all three were passes through the mountains that merged on our side and followed a well-worn path through the mountains toward the east. The first two were clear, but there was a small caravan of perhaps twenty of the llamas carrying packs wending its way down from the third as we arrived. I sent Silpitocle back to keep the men coming while I kept an eye on the merchant.

As the man drew near, I faded into cover among the rocks. I could not tell from the look of him whether he was Kakan or Re Che. He did not seem concerned about anything although he did look about as he walked his caravan along the trail. He passed my position without noticing me and continued on the path, as it turned first south, then east. I followed him at a discreet distance for a while, but he never slowed down or gave any indication of alarm. Silpitocle came up to my position and told me that the column was just behind him. Because of the curve in the trail it would be easy for them to keep out of the man’s sight even though they would have to follow the trail for a short distance. He went ahead to make sure the man continued beyond the point where we would turn off, and I climbed back up to the third pass to make sure there were no more travelers coming that way.

That night we camped out of sight of the trail, but with sentries posted to make sure we were not detected. The next day we set out again along a very vague path, which threaded its way just east of a ridgeline along some very rough country. Late in the day we came to two more trails across the mountains that merged into one on our side. The first proved unoccupied. We again had to go along part of the trail because the second pass was the one we would take. We camped just below that pass on the trail that night. Silpitocle spent the night at the pass to make sure we were not detected.

The next morning he came down to tell us the pass was still clear and we moved on over it. It was rough, but not snow covered. Once on the far side, we turned immediately south along another vague trail around a small mountain and into a valley. We skirted the mountainside of the valley and suddenly came upon a tiny town. We quickly surrounded it, but found it to be deserted. That might have been a bad sign, but closer examination proved that it had been abandoned for a while. We crossed the stream south of the town and turned west down the valley. The terrain was forested with a kind of thorn tree and laurels and still rather dry so we had to be careful of giving ourselves away by generating a dust cloud. We camped for the night along the stream just in the cover of the trees. Needless to say we sent sentries out in every direction. Silpitocle went out alone to find the enemy encampment.

The next morning he was already back in camp. Our sentries had seen nothing and he assured me that the Re Che did still not know of our presence. He had come upon one of the reserve encampments only about thirty or so li down the valley near another one of their settlements. I mounted up the men. With five horses apiece we could ride hard and still be freshly mounted for the attack. Just as we started, a brief drizzling rain began to fall settling all the dust. Things certainly looked very good for us.

By late morning we could see the smoke from the houses in the settlement, and as we debauched from the forest into a cleared area, we could see the encampment south of the settlement. I told the men to charge through it, but make sure the enemy fled to the south, and then we would immediately regroup and move on to the next encampment. We could not waste time trying to wipe them out.

As we rode toward the encampment, perhaps a li from where we broke through the woods, I could see they were not expecting us. There was at first confusion then agitation, then panic. We hit them from the northeast. South and west of the camp the area was all cleared, so as they poured out of the camp into these open areas, they were easy targets for our arrows. The few who stood to fight with crude spears, bows, clubs, and slings were quickly dispatched. We chased them to the edge of the clearing running down many and leaving the rest in complete panic.

We blew the recall signal and the men returned to formation. The settlement had pulled thorn bushes around themselves and was obviously expecting us to attack. We had other fish to fry, however, and immediately set out for the other camp at full speed. Along the way we overtook and dispatched some of the refugees who were trying to warn the other camp. We reached it in midafternoon and again swept through it before they had a chance to mount any organized resistance. More of them stood and fought and we suffered a few casualties, but nothing like we inflicted. Again we sounded the recall. I decided to hold our position for the night before turning north. If the other three enemy encampments had taken the bait, they would be at least three days’ ride away. I decided to wait until dark to fire the red rockets. I thought it was probably too far away for our people to see them anyway. While we were at it, I sent a few rockets into the forest to the south of our position to make sure none of the enemy had crept back. They hadn’t. Even so we posted sentries everywhere and all the officers took turns walking the perimeter.

The night passed without incident, but it was time for us to move north to intercept the theoretically fleeing enemy. I sent Silpitocle and the best scouts out to find the enemy, and with scouts on all sides, we moved northward quickly. Toward the end of the day, I saw a high hill nearby, and I directed the men there. We camped on its wooded slopes while I proceeded to the somewhat cleared summit. It gave quite a view. There was a large settlement a little east of north about twenty li away. There was a major dust cloud to the north, but just barely discernible above the hills in that direction. As soon as it got dark, I sent up another red rocket.

Early the next morning, Silpitocle roused me. He reported that the enemy was fleeing this way, but in generally good order, not in a panic. He and the others had found that there were three unequal and ill-defined groups. One was riding along the coast and would probably continue that way far out of sight of our position, the other two would pass a little to the east and a little to the west of our current position if they continued on their present course. We could intercept either one, but both would severely outnumber us. I reminded him that we had superior mobility and we would be well rested since we would wait near here for them. I asked him if he knew the disposition of the rest of our forces. He did not, but he assumed they were coming after the fleeing enemy.

I toyed with the idea of taking the settlement, but I didn’t want to sacrifice mobility just in case the other tumen were not closely pursuing the fleeing enemy. Not long after dawn, the dust cloud had reformed, had grown much larger, and was definitely heading our way. I got the men ready and we headed north to intercept the enemy. There was a broad open space about thirty li north of our hill and we waited in the forest south of the space. We did not have long to wait. First a trickle, then a flood of men came out of the far woods and turned southeast to head toward the settlement. It couldn’t have been better for us, as they presented their sides to us as they rode. As soon as enough of them were in range, we began to fire arrows into them. They were surprised, but seeing their danger, turned and charged toward us. We discharged arrows into them until they were near to closing with us; then we turned and galloped to the rear on fresh horses. They could not keep up with us and we soon outdistanced them. We stopped at the edge of another clearing and repeated the exercise. I couldn’t help but notice that not many of them had come after us, so we allowed them to close with us and finished them off except for a few that rode back north.

We rode south again toward the place we had spent the night. I had a feeling they had sent a small group after us to lure us into a trap. I was right. Before long a very large group was streaming around the flanks of the position we had abandoned. Seeing their ploy didn’t work, they came after us again and we again thinned their ranks while staying out of closing range. It looked to me that we had accomplished as much as we could at this point so I looked for an exit strategy. I rode up the hill to have a look around while the men were still pouring arrows into the enemy. It looked like there was a dust cloud far to the west and south of our position and another to the east of our position but turning this way. It was clear we would have to escape to the west.

I rejoined the men and we began turning our withdrawal toward the west, then at midafternoon, we disengaged and rode swiftly toward first the west, then the north. By dusk we were on a wooded hill. Mystified by the absence of the other tumen, I sent Silpitocle north to find them. I told him not to make contact with them, just see where they were and return and report. Meanwhile I set up sentries at some distance from the camp in case the enemy came after us. I suspected they were headed toward the two camps we had just destroyed to set up a second line of defense. I also suspected they would be very upset when they found out what we had done, and would likely continue on to their next position.

No one attacked us in the night, but the sentries did report seeing a few stragglers riding by in the night. The next morning, Silpitocle reported that the other tumen were across the river, but did not seem to be in any hurry. At their current leisurely pace, elements of them should reach our position in a short time. To be sure, we soon found the outriders of one of the tumen approaching warily. I asked for directions to their commander and soon found myself before the man, a Ben Zah named Chachi, appropriately as I later found out, the name meant “snail.” I asked him what his orders had been. He said he was told to move forward warily, keeping in contact with the tumen on either side, and expecting an ambush at any moment. I asked if scouts had been sent out, and he said they had not been. I then asked where Theodore and Buzun might be found. He suspected I might find them toward the east, about two tumen over nearer the middle.

I sent word to my men to hold their position for now and prudently got behind the lines of the tumen before moving east to find Theodore and Buzun. I finally found them late in the morning. Theodore was visibly relieved to see me, but it was hard to tell with Buzun. I asked if they had seen my rockets, but apparently they had not. I thought that odd, but just possible. I then told them where the enemy were at my last contact and asked why they hadn’t sent out scouts to find them instead of creeping through the forest.

“I have always found scouts unreliable,” Buzun said. “Besides, when we sent them in before, they never returned.”

“This is different. The Re Che were fleeing before you, but since you did not pursue vigorously, they had a chance to regroup and greatly outnumbered us when they reached us. Fortunately, we were able to inflict considerable harm on them and still get away with our superior mobility. Had I waited for your arrival, I would have been annihilated.”

“I told you it was a risky plan.” Buzun shrugged. “Meanwhile, I had to base my decisions on the situation at hand.”

 

“I see. Well, we can use my men as scouts so we can stop inching along and roll up the enemy before they get a chance to form an effective defense.”

“If that is what Theodore thinks is best, it is fine with me.”
“Yes, of course,” Theodore stammered.

I turned and sent orders to all the tumen commanders. I could see that this was an untenable situation and either Buzun or I would have to go. Meanwhile the pace began to pick up and we reached the area of the settlement by nightfall. It was, not surprisingly, abandoned. That night I sent out Silpitocle and the other scouts to find the enemy. I asked Theodore how the plan for the crossing had gone. He told me that it had been just as I had suggested. All their activity immediately got response across the river and they could see horsemen riding back and forth and then that the enemy were moving closer by the dust clouds. He mentioned that Buzun did not trust the dust clouds, since they could be a ruse. Finally, on the eighth day, they crossed the river in the late afternoon and set up camp on the other side. Then at dark, they left their fires burning and returned across the river just as I had told them. In the morning just before dawn, they heard a shout and a sort of war cry and the attack was on. The cannon were all loaded with shot, and as soon as they could make something out in the lifting fog across the river, they opened up on them. They were brave and even started to storm across the bridges, but their horns called them back. Once they had cleared the area, our men rushed across the river and pursued them until they reached the forest. That was when Buzun ordered the infiltrative tactics.

I tried to think of a way to get rid of Buzun. It finally came to me. I asked Theodore if his father had set up any ports along the coast in our area. He said that the nearest one was that which served Cuzco near the mouth of the Rimac River. I told him that he needed to establish a port nearby so we could be supplied more easily than by the overland route. He thought that was an excellent idea. I asked him if there was anyone in his command who could find a suitable spot. He told me that Buzun had mentioned being involved in building the port near Cuzco. I told him that obviously he was the one to send. Unfortunately, he was hesitant to take such a decision on his own and sat down to write a letter to his father. It looked like I would be stuck with Buzun for a while.

The next morning the scouts reported back that the enemy was still in three columns and had fled south of the Choapa River, along which we had attacked the day before, and had shown no sign of slowing down. The column moving along the coast was about twenty li farther south than the other two, which were maneuvering through some very rough country, ideal for setting traps. Buzun immediately seized on this scrap of information as proof that we must revert to infiltrative movement. Fortunately, I was able to convince Theodore that it was too early for that and anyway we would continue to send out the scouts to look for any traps.

I organized the tumen into groups of three and spread them out between the coast and the mountains about twenty li apart. The broken nature of the land would make it very difficult for each column to maintain contact with the others, but they should do so with scouts. They should also have scouts well out on all sides, including the rear, since the enemy would likely use some hit-and-run attacks to try and slow us down. The bulk of their forces should be bunched together, not strung out for several li, so that any such attack could be repulsed with ease. They were also to continue south, not chase after any small group of the enemy. One of the tumen commanders of each group of three was appointed Ordu commander until we reformed at either the first major river or a strong enemy position. The Ordu moving along the coast was told not to disturb the Chango villages in any way.

We burned the thorn barrier around the abandoned settlement, but left the houses undisturbed. I suggested that Buzun, Theodore, and I remain with the middle group of tumen, which conveniently was my group. I made sure that contact was maintained with the other four groups. Other than a few stragglers, there was no contact with any of the enemy that day. I had given orders that any stragglers we encountered were to be held and used to build the new port. We crossed the Choapa late that afternoon and camped near the enemy camp we had overrun. Word reached me from the Ordu to our east that the settlement we had bypassed during our initial attack was now abandoned.

South of the Choapa the terrain got very rough. We seemed to be on a halfway decent trail, but it was filled with boulders and we had to pick our way through. The scouts assured me it was worse elsewhere except along the coast. The coastal Ordu kept getting ahead, but then had to set up and remove their pontoon bridges to cross the rivers along the way. Farther inland, the rivers were easily fordable, so far. That night we reached another small river that was fordable, so we camped along its north bank. The scouts reported back that the enemy had retreated across a major river to the south called the Concon after a village at its mouth. Our eastern Ordu would be able to ford it, but the western Ordu would have to build pontoon bridges, and my Ordu, might be able to ford depending on just where we reached the river.

At the war council that night, Buzun suggested we try another end around like we had done at the Limari River. I told him he was underestimating our foe. They would probably expect us to do exactly that. Instead, we would make it look like we were doing the same thing, but would attack across the river. That way they would pull off enough forces to guard the passes and we would be able to push the rest back. He insisted that we should try what worked before and I insisted that it wouldn’t work again. Fortunately, Theodore again sided with me. It was good that we had bonded on the march down from Tamalameque.

The next day’s march was the worse yet. At first we scrambled along a vestigial trail, but then we had to turn into the mountains and pick our way across a ridgeline before descending a tiny valley to the Concon. We camped on a plain in sight of it. Word reached us that the enemy had attempted an ambush on the easternmost Ordu, but it was quickly repulsed and not pursued. The scouts that returned affirmed that the enemy was across the river ready to repulse any attempt we might make to cross it. I suggested that we rest a few days so I could look over the terrain before implementing our next move.

All along our way south, although the land became less dry, the thorn trees, laurels, and dry brush persisted. The increased wetness just made them thicker and reduced the dust. I had to weave my way through a forest of that vegetation to reach a peak to the west of my position. It had been cleared on top as a lookout, no doubt, and I decided to take advantage of it. Indeed, I could see all the way to the ocean from that vantage point. I could see that the Concon was quite wide near the ocean and there was a very long, tempting flat area just south of the river all along a bend in the river where it turns southwest and then west to the sea. Upriver it was flat along the river, but I could not see very far because of a mountain on the far side that blocked my view. When I got down the mountain again, I rode upriver.

Near the camp of the Ordu to my east I climbed a little way up a mountain to a cliff. From that opening I could see that there was a very large open space south of the river across from the camp of the easternmost Ordu. I spent the night with the Ordu just east of mine and returned to my Ordu the next morning. As I had hoped, Silpitocle was back. He had been wounded, but not seriously. He reported that the enemy was again in three camps with about five tumen per camp, each overlooking the open areas south of the river, but hidden among the trees above them. As I had expected, they were covering all three of the passes in the area with the poorly armed troops we had routed.

I could see that Waikiyaf was no fool, but his defense was not foolproof. I began to draw up my plan. That evening I presented it to Buzun and Theodore. I suggested that we have the western Ordu build their pontoon bridges across the river slowly as before. The eastern Ordu would each move farther east to the end and the middle of the clear area and look for good fords. My Ordu would gradually move east looking for fords, but not finding one until we reached the western end of the clear area. Then while the western Ordu make their faint across the bridges, the eastern three Ordu would storm across the fords and attack the easternmost camp of the enemy. We should be able to roll them up and force them to flee southward. Then we could turn on the second camp, which should be en route to us anyway. Once the third camp started to move either toward our attack or to the rear, the two western Ordu would attack across their bridges and chase them down.

Buzun shook his head, insisting that it would never work. He was certain that all three camps would be waiting for our attack by the time we got across the river. On the other hand, what if the western camp destroyed the bridges with their cannon? Then they would be trapped across the river and be no help at all. I pointed out that the scouts had assured me all the cannon had been withdrawn to the south. I added that there was no way a good leader would leave our Ordu to build pontoon bridges across the river unobserved. At least one of them would remain to watch. We would have sufficient men to defeat two of their camps, but the losses would be heavier for us should that be necessary. However, I reminded him, they do not have our mobility and it was very unlikely they could bring two of their camps to bear on us, unless the easternmost one fled to the central one and then together they turned to face us. I felt that was very unlikely, unless the leader of that eastern camp had the discipline to appear to flee in the sight of the enemy. I really didn’t think it was possible, but even so my Ordu would be able to cut them off to some extent if they did. Theodore stuck by me, however, much to Buzun’s discomfiture. In fact, I could see that he was becoming resentful and wondered if he was capable of rash action. I sent my instructions to the Ordu commanders that night.

50
The Re Che Campaign Continued 113–4 K
(Central Chile, 1481–2)

The plan went well at first. We sorted ourselves out for a day and then the western Ordu began working on the pontoon bridges while the eastern Ordu checked out fords. I continued to send out spies, but fewer were returning. Silpitocle always returned, however. The next day, as the pontoons were nearing completion, the eastern Ordu crossed the river in force and all headed straight for the spot where the eastern camp of the enemy was supposed to have been located, just west of the cleared area. My Ordu was closest to the site, but when our forward elements reached it, it was abandoned. I immediately became suspicious and had recall sounded. As my men withdrew into the clear area and the other Ordu stopped in their positions near the middle of the clear area, there was a sudden battle cry from the east and the enemy exploded onto our left flank. They charged to within arrow range and let loose a volley into the easternmost Ordu.

I was not expecting them there, but it really was not a problem, and we all turned to attack them. I was reasonably sure their middle camp would be rushing out of the trees on what had been our right flank but was now our rear. Still, I felt we could make short work of the eastern camp before they could close and we could turn on the middle camp in the open space and do great harm to them before they could close with us. However, the eastern camp withdrew into the trees on the eastern end of the clear area and poured a withering fire into our men as we closed with them. Once we closed with them, we began to push them back into the trees, but slowly for there were quite a few of them. I was still concerned about the middle force, however, so I sent Silpitocle to find them while I set up the cannon in a semicircle to cover our western and southern flanks. As more men were brought to bear, the battle began to go our way, and with some difficulty, I kept two of the tumen back in reserve and insisted that we only try to envelop them from the north.
Suddenly Silpitocle broke from the woods in the southwest riding hard toward our position. Before he could reach us, however, the middle force charged out of the wooded slopes to our south and stopping at arrow range let loose a volley and retreated just as our cannon fired into them. Their losses were significant, but ours were heavy as well. One of the arrows should have hit me, but something pushed me sideways and it just missed. I could see that the middle force was moving east to aid the eastern force. I had the cannon send solid shot into their midst through the trees and had the recall sounded to extricate the men from the battle.

I then had the cannon turned toward the east and formed the men behind them as they returned, well out of arrow range from the forest. Silpitocle told me that he was rushing to warn me, but had been too late. He speculated that they must have moved in the night into their new positions. It occurred to me that if that was true, their horses must be rather tired already. But from what I could see, they didn’t look tired at all. The last of our men cleared the forest with the enemy in hot pursuit. We fired a volley of arrows into the enemy as soon as they were in range, but could only fire the southernmost cannon. It proved to be enough to force them to pull back into the cover of the woods.

I had the canon send some shot into the woods to wreak a little havoc, but I couldn’t tell if it had been successful. I next sent some rockets screaming through the woods. Again, I could not tell if anything had happened. Then suddenly we could see a large force of the enemy ford the river to the north side and ride frantically to the east. I had to sound recall to keep the men from chasing after them. Finally, I had to assume they had all withdrawn, so I formed the men into their tumen and had them charge into the woods to the east and southeast. We routed some rear guards, but from the tracks, it was clear that the bulk of their forces had fled south. I kept us all together and went after them in force. It was hard to tell how much of a head start they had, but I suspected their one horse apiece would slow them down. Meanwhile I sent Silpitocle to find out what had happened on the western front.

We easily followed the enemy trail since they made no effort to hide it. After a few li, they had split into two groups, but we continued to follow the western of the two, since the terrain was slightly better, and I didn’t want the enemy to be able to concentrate their forces between my force and the western Ordu. We were unable to overtake them before dark. I sent the best available scouts south to find them in the dark while we camped for the night. It was not until morning that an exhausted Silpitocle caught up with us just as we were about to leave. He reported that the western Ordu had crossed in force around midmorning and had chased a force of the enemy they could see withdrawing before them. Then, when they heard the cannon, they turned to go to our aid. He had found them about halfway toward our battlefield. He suggested to them that they should go back to chasing the enemy force south since that was what we were doing. They agreed. I was of two minds over this. On the one hand, they did show some initiative in coming to our aid. On the other hand, they were too far away to possibly reach us in time to affect the battle one way or the other. I was coming to the conclusion that I needed to keep the entire force close at hand for all future actions.

Late in the morning, some of our scouts returned to report that the enemy was still well ahead of us and quite numerous. They estimated that the one force we were following had very near our numbers. I sent some scouts to find the two eastern forces of the enemy. Meanwhile, the terrain had opened up before us into a broad intermountain valley, with hardwood forests and grasslands and dotted with cultivated clearings around villages, which were generally along rivers and streams. I rode up a hill, which promised a good view. From my vantage point the whole long valley stretched out far to the south before me. I could see the group we were chasing about twenty-five li ahead of us. I could not see the eastern group anywhere, but suspected they were somewhere among the mountains that blocked my view in that direction. I could see nothing toward the west but more mountains. There were not as many villages as I would have expected in such a valley, but those I saw looked fairly large. I rode back down and sent a signalman with a few rockets to keep an eye on our progress and warn us if the enemy turned and tried to set a trap.

Around midday, I received word that the western Ordu was about ninety li away in a fertile seaside plain chasing a small force southward. Late in the day I finally discovered why we hadn’t caught up with them yet. They had pontoon bridges in place across all their rivers and paused only long enough to break them up before continuing on their way. We were forced to stop and build one of our own to cross each river and then wait to take it down again to bring with us before continuing. This delay enabled them to spare their horses enough to keep most of them going. We had encountered some ruined horses along the way and I did notice as the last of the enemy scampered away from this latest river that many of them were on foot. We quickly built the bridge across the river, crossed it, and set up defensive camp. I ordered the engineers to leave the bridge this time. I had the suspicion that the enemy would try something tonight, since it was their best chance, and I didn’t want to cut off my line of retreat.

Once again I sent Silpitocle ahead to find the Re Che. Meanwhile I doubled the sentries and set up the cannon fully loaded in a semicircle near the center of the camp with the horses behind them and the men in a circle around the horses and cannon. Because of the rather unpleasant smell, it was not the best configuration, but I didn’t want to take any chances on losing any horses. Near midnight, Silpitocle awakened me. He had found the Re Che sneaking up on us for a dawn attack. They had halted perhaps half a li away from our outermost sentries. He knew they favored dawn attacks, since they could usually count on fog to help them. I sent him to get some rest and ordered that the sentries be withdrawn into the camp perimeter well before dawn. Instead I had one of my more skilled men set some traps in the clearing around the camp perimeter and had the cannon moved a little closer to the perimeter.

Not long before first light, the men were all aroused and quietly placed in position around and behind the cannon. The inky blackness had been softened by a thin mist, which spread out from the river well before we roused the men. Finally, I could just detect the slight lightening of the mist. Then the first trap was loudly sprung on our right, followed quickly by several more from that direction, and then a shout. The enemy began to take vague shape on our right and we let them reach the camp perimeter before opening fire, first with arrows, and then when there were enough of them, cannon. I was puzzled that the attack was only on our right and suspected that perhaps the eastern band had returned and was waiting for an opportune time to attack our left. I ordered the men on the left to remain in place and kept almost half the cannon loaded and aimed in that direction. Less surprising was the fact that they attacked on foot obviously not wishing to risk losing any horses to our fire. Of course, the reduced mobility worked in our favor.

The fog never got very thick, and as the morning lightened, the Re Che began to fall back on the right. I sent some units to keep in contact with them and finally was rewarded with a shout on the left. We held off until we couldn’t miss and slaughtered them. They were mounted, but before they even reached our camp perimeter, they broke off and fled to the southeast as quickly as they could. I mounted up the men and chased after the main band. They had tried to scatter, but we were able to capture or kill the bulk of them. For Carlotta’s sake, I was glad to see that more were captured than killed. The next few days were spent rounding up as many as we could find. I sent Silpitocle to look for the eastern band. The western Ordu had finally run down the small force they had been chasing and they had surrendered after a token resistance.

I reasoned after such a loss, the Re Che would withdraw somewhere and spend some time trying to regroup. The scouts I had sent to look for the eastern two forces before we even reached the central valley finally showed up confirming that the two forces had come together in the mountains and slipped across the river far to the east and then moved west downstream to attack our left flank. Actually it was a good plan, and if I had charged after the main body with all my men, they would have made short work of our rear guard and captured our cannon and turned them on us. Fortunately, I didn’t take the bait.

I decided that it would be an excellent opportunity for us to fan out in force and look for any pockets of resistance behind us and rebuild pontoon bridges to our rear to ensure our supply lines. Of course, we also had the captured Re Che fields to harvest. I sent the individual tumen in various directions to this end. I suggested to Buzun that he was the only one competent enough to see to the pontoon bridges. I think he was a little mollified by the apparent compliment.

By late winter there were thousands of captured Re Che working on construction projects. When Buzun returned from bridge building, I asked him if he could find a suitable site for a port. He puffed up a bit and immediately set out to do so. That had been easier than I had anticipated. Before long the Re Che prisoners were building a port at a site about thirty-five li south of the mouth of the Choapa River, near a Chono village. He suggested we name it Henribalikh. Of course, we agreed. I made it a point not to go anywhere near the port, but sent Theodore there at proper intervals to make a big fuss over whatever Buzun was doing. Silpitocle returned to report that the remains of the eastern band had crossed the Mataquito River along with a few stragglers from the central force and destroyed their bridge behind them. He slipped across the river and determined that they were withdrawing farther south. We were able to cross that river unopposed at the end of fall. They were holding below the Maule River for the moment, but again Silpitocle reported that their women and children were still moving south and only the warriors remained behind. I thought it might be a good time to offer them peace again. So we found a captive who had lost a leg and was thus unlikely to be of much use in future battles and, with Silpitocle interpreting, gave him a message to give to Waikiyaf. Essentially, I suggested that he had put up enough of a resistance to earn our respect, but now it was time to give up and spare his people any further bloodshed. We rowed the man across the river and gave him a captured horse, well past its prime, to ride.

A few days later a man was seen swimming across the river to our side. He was rounded up and brought to me. I could see immediately that he was no Re Che. He had the tall, slim build of a Leni lenape. When he spoke to me, it was in flawless Mongol. He introduced himself as Sacook, a mapper, who had been captured about a year earlier while mapping the mouth of a large river to the south called the Bio Bio. I asked if he was the son of Watomika and he acknowledged that he was. I told him of my acquaintance with his father and how he had asked me to be on the look out for him. He then explained why he had been released.

“Waikiyaf sent me because you released his cousin to give him your suggestion that he surrender. His answer is this. I wrote it down to make sure I got it right. ‘It is true that you have repeatedly defeated us and it seems that Ngenechen favors you. It may be that you will continue to defeat us and we will be removed from the face of Tchili. If that comes to pass, it is the will of Ngenechen and we accept it. But we will never really disappear. We know that even after death we will continue in a land much like this one where you Huinca cannot disturb us. Why should we trade our freedom either in this world or the next for your chains? We will fight you until you leave our land or we are all in the next world.’ ”

“Do you think he means that? He wants us to wipe out his people?”

“He knows you have captured and enslaved many of his people and he presumes that is what is in store for them if they give up. I tried to explain that the Mongols do not enslave those that join them and even those that resist are eventually freed after they have been pacified. I told him about the Mingue, for example, but I’m not sure it matters to him. He assured me that he would fight as long as he breathed. I’m sure he means it.”

“I was afraid of that. Well, we will have to root him out then. Do you think he will make his stand below the Maule?”

“I would guess that he will withdraw below the Bio Bio before the very heavy winter rains begin. You will not be able to cross it until next summer or at least until late spring. It is very wet there with thick forests of beech, cedar, and laurels making it easy for them to hide and attack from ambush.”

“If we attack now across the Maule River, do you think they will run or stand?”
“I would guess the bulk would run and a rear guard will stand.”
“What is the Bio Bio like?”

“It is quite a river. In the winter it is a torrent from all the rain. In the summer it can be bridged; they have a pontoon bridge across it now. But they have cannon below the Bio Bio. I have seen them. They will use them to destroy any bridges you try to throw across before they are finished.”

“Did you see how many cannon they had?”
“I only saw four. But they probably have more. I don’t think they have much powder, however.” “We assumed they didn’t, or they would have used them by now. Do they call this place ‘Tchili’?”

“Yes. It is their word for ‘snow.’ I think they call it that because you can always see the snow on the mountains all along their land.”

“What does ‘Huinca’ mean?”
“Outlander, foreigner, a person who is not Re Che.”
“And Ngenechen?”
“Their God.”
“Were you coming from the south when you were captured?”

“Yes. I started on the coast to the east from the south bank of Karamuren, around the southern end of the landmass and all around the large island off the tip, then back up the western coast. There is a large archipelago south of the Re Che lands. The people on the large island are called Shelknam on most of the island, but Haush on the southeast corner and Yamana on the islands off the southern coast. Northwest of the island there are a people called Alacaluf who extend about sixteen hundred li along the islands off the coast and to some extent along the coast also. North of them are the Chono who extend to just below a large island called Chiloe that is occupied by a group of Re Che. Until I reached the Re Che, no one minded my mapping activities. Fortunately, they only got me, not the ship that was carrying me. It must have returned to the Green Mist.”

“I wish they would have gone on to Georgbalikh, the port for Cuzco.”
“They had their orders to return to Tegulunbalikh.”
“Tegulunbalikh?”

“It is a small port, just founded two years ago on the bay where we first found the Genakin. It was named for the Khan just before he died. I suppose I should eventually return there as well, although I would like to finish my mapping. Anyway, the voyage around the southern end of the landmass is very rough. The storms are memorable. Perhaps I will wait until I can return by land.”

“You could probably do that now, but I agree, you should finish mapping. There is the interior up to the Limari River and the mountains which could use some better mapping.”

I sent a letter to Watomika telling him about his son’s safe return from the Re Che and included a note from Sacook. Sacook then went on to map the interior of the area we had just conquered and promised to send me copies. I urged him to pay close attention to the mountains and look for any good passes through them. I also suggested that he be very careful and he report back by the beginning of winter. He promised that he would.

Not long after Sacook departed, we had a visitor from Tamalameque. It proved to be Henry’s chief of staff, Thoxe. The name was Wazhazhe, but the man looked like a native of the Tamalameque region. He arrived just as Theodore returned from one of his trips to Henribalikh. Thoxe was a medium-sized man with a slender build and gray hair. He had steely eyes and practically no expression at all. Still, I detected a slight softening in his expression when he saw Theodore. The latter ran up and embraced him like a favorite uncle when he caught sight of him. Thoxe stiffly returned the hug, but I noticed the trace of a smile.

Theodore lost no time in introducing me to his best friend in the capital. Thoxe acknowledged me, and then pulled Theodore away to talk with him in private. I wondered what this was all about, but was determined not to let it bother me. After a while both men returned to me. Theodore was still smiling, so that was a good sign.

“It seems that you are responsible for all the success of this campaign,” Thoxe began. “The Khan had misgivings about the competence of Buzun to lead a campaign and apparently you prevented him from expressing his limitations in disaster.”

“He is very well suited to engineering. I have him working on a port at the moment and Theodore assures me it is going quite well.”

“Yes, that was an excellent idea. It is clear that you should be the leader of this campaign, with Theodore as second in command. We can do this since you are related to the Khan. Of course, it would be best if Theodore remains officially in command and you appear to be his advisor.”

“Of course.”

 

“Excellent. Now, what is the current situation? What are your plans?”

I explained the situation to him. He listened attentively, then asked some very good questions ensuring that he understood the apparent standoff completely. Then he asked what I planned to do next. I told him that we would shortly cross the Maule and mop up any rear guard left to annoy us. Then we would appear to be stymied by the Bio Bio. Toward the end of spring, we would build pontoon bridges for them to destroy until they either ran out of ammunition or our counter battery fire destroyed their cannon. Meanwhile we would either find a pass enabling us to flank their river, or if we could get enough ships, we would drop below their lands and attack from the south. The best solution would be both, but we would need more tumen for that to be accomplished.

“How many more would you need?” he asked.
“Another five.”
“Six should be arriving by late winter.”
“And ships?”

“The Khanate doesn’t have transport ships, but we can get use of them from the Khakhanate. They should reach here before the end of spring.”

“Mid spring would be best.”
“I’ll see what I can do. Anything else?”

“Sacook, the mapper who was captured by the Re Che, told me that he had already mapped the coast south of the Bio Bio, and that the maps were likely taken back to the Green Mist. Do you think you can get us a copy?” “They usually send us a copy of any maps, just as we send them. I’ll see that it is sent to you the moment it comes in.”

“Excellent.”
“Now, there is something else I must tell you. Ignace has died.”
“Oh! Poor Paula,” Theodore exclaimed.
“You remember her?” Thoxe seemed shocked.

“Oh not from when I was a baby. We met her while we were in Cuzco. She was most hospitable. What will become of her?”

 

“She is still in Cuzco. I suppose once a suitable husband is found for her, your father will see that she is married.”

“But she was running the city while he was ill. Has she been removed?”
“My boy, nothing has been done to her. The city is still under her control. Why does this concern you?” “Well, I…we…it’s just that…”

“Theodore and Paula became close friends while we were in Cuzco.” I came to his rescue. “He is simply inquiring about his good friend.”

 

“I see. I will tell your father of your ‘concern’ for your ‘friend’ and do all I can to see that her wishes are seriously considered.”

 

“Thank you. Do you think I should go to Cuzco to comfort her for her loss? Would that be the proper thing to do?”

 

“Not in the middle of a campaign.” He shot me an incredulous look. “Just write her a note offering your condolences. I will deliver it to her personally.”

“Are you sure?”
“Positive.”
“That would be best,” I added. “The men would not understand your leaving in the middle of a campaign.”

Theodore looked crestfallen, but glumly agreed and went off to write his note. I suspected it would be the length of a short book. Meanwhile, Thoxe asked me exactly what the relationship was between the cousins. I told him that as far as I knew they had just developed a close friendship. He expressed the hope that it was no more than that. He would find out in Cuzco. I told him that Paula was a very fine young lady and did seem to be running things quite well while we were there. He thanked me and wished me well in the coming campaign. He left the next morning.

Theodore seemed very distracted after Thoxe left so I put him in charge of getting the pontoon bridges quickly across the Maule, and leading ten of the tumen across to round up any Re Che still there. I sent Cimnashote with him to make sure he didn’t daydream. Because of my new position, I made Ah Uk the new commander of the Maya tumen and kept Cimnashote in a staff position. The men were disappointed to lose me, but were mollified by my choice of a fellow survivor of the massacre as their new commander. Somehow, it was felt to be fitting. I was very pleased to see that the other jagun commanders elected Nezahualpili the new minghan commander in Ah Uk’s place. I had them and three other tumen guarding the bridges. The last tumen was in Henribalikh guarding the port. Meanwhile I took just Silpitocle and headed east.

We followed the north bank of the river upstream. We seemed to be going a little south of east. By the first night, we were well into the mountains. Early the next morning, we came to a fork. One came from the south and the other from the east. I decided to take the south fork. We crossed the bitter cold east fork and followed the south fork along its eastern bank. This passage was very rough and I couldn’t see bringing a few tumen along this way. The autumn had been rather dry, but as winter began, it started to rain a little. This made the going even worse, between slippery paths and flash floods. Still we continued, and after three days and three more bitter cold eastern fork crossings, we came to a small lake. The next morning, we followed its eastern shore until it turned west, then continued south into the mountains. We found a stream and followed it southeast, then south for two days, and two more cold stream fordings until we reached an intermountain valley. It was very narrow to the south along the river and wider to the west along two streams. The whole area was heavily wooded with a kind of beech tree. The canopy was so dense there was little undergrowth, so while the footing was easy, it was hard to see where you were going. We decided to check the western part first.

While wandering along one of the streams, we suddenly came upon a tiny settlement. There was a small clearing with four rude shelters made of hides and poles. There were a few women and some children about, but no men. They were shocked to see us and froze long enough for us to raise empty hands to indicate no hostile intent. They were not Re Che. One of the women pointed to me and said “Mogu” and to herself and said “Genakin.” I nodded assent and asked Silpitocle if he spoke any Genakin. He knew a smattering, so we settled down to wait the return of the men. The women went about their business, but the children kept coming up to us and touching things.

Near dusk the men returned with their game, one of the smaller llama called guanaco, and were also stunned to see us there, peacefully sitting among their families. The head of the village approached us, and with some difficulty Silpitocle was able to communicate with him. He affirmed that they were subjects of the Khanate of the Green Mist, although they had never been bothered by them before. We were invited to dine with them and they politely asked what we wanted. I had Silpitocle ask them if they knew of a path over the mountains to the west, preferably at a point well south of here. They told us that there were several passes over the mountains and those farther south were easier to cross than the northern ones. I then asked if there was one that could accommodate a large force of men on horses. The headman was sure he knew of one and agreed to take us to it.

I then discreetly asked where the nearest outpost of the Khanate might be. They told me it was far to the west on the plains. It was a training “ugu” where their young men learned our ways. I was much relieved to hear that. It would not do to have tumen from the Khanate of the Clouds appear to be conquering territory of the Khanate of the Green Mist.

We set out in the morning, first to the west, then southeast upstream along a small river. The next morning, the river led us south. Near noon the next day, we crossed the river where it was fed by a river from the west and another from the east. Moving a little to the west, we found a third river joining it from the south and followed it upstream. The following morning, we continued along the river until it became little more than a stream, and where it veered to the west, we turned southeast along a slight path, just before we camped for the night. The path came from the west also, and our guide told us that it would lead us into Re Che lands a little north of the Bio Bio. I decided we would take that trail on the way back to see if it would do.

We continued southeast the next day arriving at another narrow intermountain valley a little after midday. We followed the valley south for four days. We passed through a couple of tiny Genakin settlements along the path, but were not delayed by them. Finally, on the fifth day, we turned toward the mountains to the west along a rude path. Late in the day, we came upon a small river flowing out from the mountains. We camped just below the pass. It was quite cool that night. The following morning we crossed the pass reaching another small valley on the other side by dusk. It was quite cold in the pass, so I was glad we didn’t have to spend the night there. In the morning the path led us a little south of west across the valley to a river that drained a long lake. By nightfall we had followed the eastern shore of the lake to the northern shore. The next day we followed the northern shore until midafternoon; then the path moved away from the lake into another small valley with two small lakes north of the path.

As we went along, more and more of the beeches had dropped their golden red leaves, giving the valleys a beautiful carpet. The regular ground cover was mainly mosses and herbs making for a very pleasant ride or walk. We camped that night at the edge of the valley where the beeches began to give way to evergreens, mostly a kind of cypress. We followed the path west up into another pass between two high mountains that day. By evening we were through the pass and in another very narrow valley along a westward-flowing river. Our guide told us that there was a small Re Che settlement about a day’s ride down the valley. I asked him if he knew what they called this river, but he wasn’t sure. He suggested that we could ask at one of the Genakin villages we passed a few days before. I was satisfied we could bring the Ordu this way, so the following morning we returned the way we had come.

51
The Re Che Campaign Continues 114–5 K
(South Central Chile, 1482–3)

The return trip was uneventful, but colder. When we reached the Genakin villages in the long valley, one man told us he thought the Re Che river at the end of the pass we had just traversed was called something like “Tolto.” I rather hoped it was marked on Sacook’s map so I could get some idea how far south it was. When we reached the trail our guide said would take us across the mountains, north of the Bio Bio, we thanked him and sent him off with two of our horses. He was very pleased with the gift and assured us that the Khanate of the Green Mist had no more loyal subject.

It took us more than a day to negotiate the pass and it was a bitter cold night above the tree line where dusk caught us. The next morning we descended along a river through the mountains. The vegetation was sparse here, mostly a small kind of cypress tree. The end of the day found us at the base of a high snow-covered mountain, likely a volcano from its almost perfect cone shape. It was not smoking or rumbling, fortunately. The following morning we continued along the trail around the mountain reaching its far side and just beginning to descend into another very narrow valley at dusk. The next morning I noticed that the little cypresses had given way to a strange kind of pine tree. I only call it a pine tree because it had large cones. Instead of needles it had small sharp, flat leaves. Silpitocle told me that the Re Che called it “pehuen” and harvested the cones for the nuts. I noticed that there were some medium-sized parrots harvesting the few remaining nuts at the moment. They were blackish green with red on the face, belly and tail, and were making quite a bit of noise, although Cuauhtzin could have easily put them to shame.

We knocked down a few of the cones and got out the nuts. They were large and not bad, I suppose, for pine nuts. We continued down the valley and came upon an abandoned tiny village late in the day. We spent the night in one of the two houses, which Silpitocle said were called “ruka.” The ruka was shaped like an elongated oval with the only opening, a door facing east. It was made of wooden walls with a high thatch roof reaching nearly to the ground and a central hearth made of stones, with a smoke hole above it in the roof. There were no furnishings, just some heaps of grass for beds. There were also a few empty damaged baskets and broken clay jars. It wasn’t much of a house, but it did keep out the cold rain that fell that night.

The next day we continued west along the river and around midafternoon came upon a jagun patrolling up the river. The commander gave me directions to Theodore’s camp about three days west near the north bank of the Bio Bio. We passed a few more abandoned Re Che “villages” with three to five of the rukas spread out along a river or stream along the way. We found the camp situated on the cleared slopes of a hill about fifteen li north of the Bio Bio. It was a good position, commanding the lower ground for some distance in all directions. Of course, that ground was a thick forest, so there wasn’t much to see. Both Theodore and Cimnashote were most relieved to see us, although for different reasons. Theodore was worried we had come to grief; Cimnashote was anxious to return Theodore’s care to me. Buzun had finished the port and had returned. I immediately asked him if he thought he could find a good site for a port nearer to the Bio Bio. He said he had noticed such a spot on a bay just north of the mouth of the river. I sent him off to build the port, which would be named Theodorbalikh, after my uncle, the first Khan of the Clouds, not my young cousin.

The first of the new tumen had just arrived, but none of the ships had yet come. There was no map so far, but Thoxe could not have reached Tamalameque yet. There was a dispatch from Watomika, including a letter from Luis. This was an opportune time since I would not be able to do anything until the ships arrived. Watomika had not received my letter about his son yet, he just greeted me and enclosed Luis’ letter. It had taken about a year to get it to me.

I noticed that Luis had taken to placing a date on the top of his letter. It was Martxoa, 1481. If I remembered correctly, Martxoa was one of the twelve months, into which they divided the year. I presumed he did not want to try to date our way. He began by answering my question about the Roman empires. It seems the Roman Empire was founded over two thousand years ago and had gradually conquered all of the shores of the Mediterranean Sea as well as much of Europa. It had become corrupt because it was pagan and God had punished it by letting it be overrun by wild tribes from the north and east, both Alemaneira (German) and Eslaveira (Slav) who eventually overthrew it about a thousand years ago. The Holy Roman Empire was the creation of Carlos el Magno (Charlemagne), the Frank king who ruled an area including Frantzia, Alemainia, Suiza, and Italia. He had himself crowned emperor by the aitasantu, himself, on Gabon-egun (Christmas Day), 800. When he died, the empire was divided into three by his grandsons, but eventually became two, Frantzia and the Holy Roman Empire. The former had a strong king, after a very long struggle; the latter had the hapless emperor. He added that the Franks were one of the German tribes that had invaded the Roman Empire leading to its downfall. I wondered if anyone had written a book about the history of Europa. I suspected it would be very interesting, if confusing. Of course, if it was anything like Hanjen histories, it would be full of bias in favor of the current regimes. I remember, when I was a child, being so disillusioned to discover that not everything written in a book was true.

Meanwhile, there was a new king in Portugal, Juan the Second, and a revolt against him by the nobles, led by Ferdinando of Braganza. The war between Hungaria and the empire continued, with the former getting the better of it. Not much else was happening, but he had heard the “great” news that the gallant Knights of Santu Juan had repulsed the evil Ottoman Empire’s attack on Rhodes. I had to check my map for that one, but it turned out to be an island off the south west coast of the Ottoman Empire. It was easy to see why they were trying to conquer it. He also asked about my campaign.

In my response I told him about the campaign, so far; then I asked him if anyone had written a comprehensive history of Europa that might actually be accurate, rather than a pack of lies and exaggerations to curry favor with the writer’s ruler. I also asked him what a Knight of Santu Juan was, and how was it that they owned an island so close to the Ottoman Empire. I also asked how it happened the Roman Empire was pagan, but all of Europa was Christian, and what he meant by Gabon-egun. Finally I asked him if he had married yet. He was certainly of the age most young men get married, but he hadn’t mentioned anything about it, and I was curious. I sent the letter off with another note to Watomika assuring him that his son was still in good health. I knew that because he had returned just as I was finishing my letter to Luis. I hoped that the letters would get to Yangzi by next spring. That would be a little less than a year since it was late spring there now. I guessed another letter from Luis was en route by now.
Sacook had done an admirable job of mapping from the Limari River south to the Maule and had come by to report to me before working on the area between the Maule and the Bio Bio. I showed him my crude map of the route I had taken and asked if he knew of any Re Che river called something like “Tolto.” He remembered a river called “Tolten” the mouth of which was about five hundred li south of the mouth of the Bio Bio. I asked how much farther south was the island called Chiloe. He thought it was just about the same distance or perhaps a bit more, 530 li. If that were true, then my planned eastern attack route would be right in the middle of their territory. I still hoped I would get a copy of Sacook’s original map before winter set in. Meanwhile I sent him off to map the remaining area we had conquered.

As winter deepened, the rainfall decreased, but it really wasn’t unpleasant in this area. I was aware that my plan for the upcoming campaign called for dividing my forces into three Ordu. I wondered whom I could trust to follow the plan exactly and which Ordu I should personally lead. Early in the spring I received word that the ships had arrived in Henribalikh and were continuing on to Theodorbalikh. I ordered six of the veteran tumen, including my Maya tumen, to head to the latter port, and I rode ahead. I was beginning to rethink my original strategy.

In the short time he had, Buzun had done a fine job. There was a sturdy long pier completed, another about half finished, and a dry dock was under construction. The town was slowly taking shape mostly with stone houses in the Inka tradition. There was a tumen camped around the port to protect it. Two of the fuchuan type of ships were already tied to the pier, half a dozen larger ships were at anchor in the harbor and the sails of more were visible approaching from the north. I marveled at how much faster ships were than horses. I first sought out Buzun to heap praise on him for his excellent work, leaving him actually glowing with pride. Next I rode down to the dock and walked out the pier to the first ship.

The captain proved to be a typically expressionless Chosin, named An Huang. He introduced me to the captain of the other docked ship, another Chosin, named Kim Yu. Both were anxious to hear what my plans were for them. I explained that I would need the whole fleet to ferry six Ordu about eleven hundred li south. Then I would need one or two of the ships to remain behind to ferry supplies. They went over to their charts and measured off the distance and checked their notes, then said it would be possible. In fact they could go even farther south if I wished. I asked to see their maps. They had maps of the entire coastline complete with depth soundings, but no details of the land, beyond the river mouths. I explained that we had to drop below the island of Chiloe. They measured again and told me that would be over fourteen hundred li, but still acceptable. I asked what was not acceptable and they said two thousand li. I asked why and they said that the weather was treacherous and far too dangerous for transporting men and horses. Finally I asked where they happened to get the maps and they told me that the coast had been mapped some years before, but the land was still being mapped. They, of course, had no interest in the land.

I studied their maps for a while, but decided I would need to know exactly where the Re Che lands end, and for that would need to talk to Sacook. Before I left, they wanted to know how soon we would start. I told them we would start loading the men within a few days. I had just decided it was time to start this campaign. I went ashore and asked if there was a nearby Chono village. It turned out there was one on another bay just across the peninsula, which made up the western shore of the bay on which Theodorbalikh was under construction. I next asked if anyone knew their language. No one did, but it seemed that one of them had learned ours. I sent for him. I also sent word that Sacook should report to me immediately on his return. I hoped he would return soon.

The first to arrive was the Chono man who had learned Mongol. He said his name was Delco and that he had learned our language so he could satisfy himself that we meant his people no harm. He had learned Re Che for the same reason some years before. He said he was the head of the village, but was not any sort of a king, just a leader who looked out for the interests of the village. He seemed much too sophisticated to be what he claimed, but he did look like a Chono, not a Re Che. Still, I had to wonder. I asked him to wait a bit and went out to speak to Silpitocle. I asked him to speak to him and see if he was what he claimed to be. I did not detail my misgivings.

A little while later, Silpitocle returned to me and explained that Delco was what he claimed to be, head of that fishing village. However, he was not really a Chono, but a fellow Kakan. He had fled south during our conquest of their land, and had found the Chono more to his taste than the Re Che, so he had adopted one of their names and settled among them and in the fullness of time, become their leader. He was certain we could trust him as long as we planned no action against the Chono. I went back to talk to him.

“What I need you for is to tell the Chono south of the Re Che that we mean them no harm and will not disturb them in any way.”

 

“Do you plan to attack the Re Che from the south?”

 

“The less you know the better. All you need to know is that we need you to reassure the Chono that we will not bother them, just as we have not bothered them here in the north.”

 

“It is true that you have not bothered them here in the north. But if you bring all these ships to their lands, they will be terrified and flee in all directions. You will have no need to reassure them.”

 

“We will only take a small party on one ship south,” I dissembled.

 

“Well, then I can probably convince them that you mean no harm. I must go back to my village and tell them that I will be going with you and that they need not fear that I have come to any harm.”

“Of course. Be back in the morning.”
“May I ask how far south we will be going? I have some friends among the villages there.” “Just to the first village below the Re Che lands.”

I did not trust him, because of his questions, but I decided to make it look like I trusted him. I returned to An Huang’s ship. I told him that a small party and I would depart the next day on his ship. The rest of the fleet would load up and follow us in a few days. I then looked at the charts and pointed to a spot that was well below Chiloe Island and should definitely be Chono land. I asked if it would be a good place to land. He looked it over and agreed that it looked quite good. I told him to write out orders to the other ship captains and seal them so they would not be opened until they put out to sea. Each ship should sail beyond the horizon before turning south, then stay out of sight of land until it was time to turn into our landing site. He pointed out that the fleet would be quite visible from all the islands they would have to pass to reach the landing zone, but I explained that it wouldn’t matter by that time. He nodded and sat down to write the orders. I returned to shore.

Much to my relief, Sacook was waiting for me. He had returned for supplies and heard that I needed him. I drew from memory the spot I planned to land the troops and asked if it was well below the Re Che lands. He corrected my crude map and showed me roughly where the border was located—he estimated it to be almost 250 li north of my spot. Of course, he reminded me that the Chono tended to be on the coast all along the Re Che lands since they exploited the sea and the latter did not, but the Re Che did not extend much beyond Chiloe Island, because, frankly, the mainland south of there wasn’t much suited to their lifestyle. He added that we would not likely enjoy it much either. It was hilly, with dense forest, rain all year long, and a seemingly constant westerly wind, sometimes very strong. There were no trails, because the Chono traveled by boat everywhere.

“Do you think we could cut a road through there?” I asked.

 

“Possibly, but you would have to maintain it all the time. It is like a temperate jungle, if you can imagine such a thing.”

“The northwest coast of the Khakhanate is like that.”
“I never got there.”

“I am taking a small force on a single ship to contact the Chono and assure them we will not bother them. Would you like to come with us and flesh out your maps?”

 

“I mapped that area already. If a copy gets here on time, it would serve you better than I would, but, of course, I’ll happily go with you if it will help.”

“By any chance to you understand the Chono language?”
“Yes, I do, at least enough to get by.”
“Then you will be invaluable.”
“I will come with you.”

I thanked him. The next morning Delco deepened my suspicions by showing up with a “friend.” He told me his friend had come to see him off. I acted unconcerned. He then asked what I was going to do with the big ships. I told him that they were being used to ferry some tumen back north rather than have them march all the way back. He expressed surprise and wondered if we didn’t need them to finish off the Re Che. I told him that we could finish off the Re Che with half our current numbers. As soon as autumn came, we would cross the Bio Bio and make short work of them. He excused himself to say good-bye to his friend and then came with us to board the ship. Once aboard, I noticed he immediately began to chat with the crew. Of course, on all Mongol ships the crew knows absolutely nothing about their destination, so I looked on with amusement. He next tried to speak to the officers, but they also knew nothing. He didn’t dare speak to the forbidding An Huang.

Besides Delco, I only took with me Sacook, Silpitocle, a jagun from the Maya tumen, and a man who could help us build a pier at our landing site. There was also a full contingent of sailors on the ship, of course. I didn’t let anyone know about my suspicions of Delco. I didn’t want to risk tipping him off. I did tell Sacook not to let on that he understood Chono. About midmorning we sailed out of the bay and into the west. Once we were out of sight of land, we turned south. I could see that both Silpitocle and Delco were apprehensive about being out of sight of land, but I reassured them that our ships did not need to be in sight of land, since they navigated by the stars. They were familiar with the stars and had their own names for them, but they had never navigated by them. By the fourth day, they were both clearly upset and had taken to looking longingly toward the east. Early on the fifth day, both were greatly relieved when they finally caught sight of land, an island off the port bow.

Silpitocle now returned to chatting and joking with the rest of us, but Delco was staring hard at the islands trying to get his bearings. I kept an amused eye on him. Finally, as we threaded our way through a narrow channel, he came to me to announce that we must have gone too far south since this was not the northern limit of Chono lands. I told him not to worry we were right on target. By midafternoon we pulled into the bay and dropped anchors. Again Delco came to tell me we were much too far south. I again told him not to worry, this would do. He was clearly uncomfortable, but did not know what to do. The bay was a narrow one with mountains on all sides. There was a river at the apex of the bay and a small Chono village. There were also many small Chono boats heading back to it.

I took an arban and Sacook, Silpitocle, and Delco and rowed to the village. The villagers had armed themselves with spears and clubs, but made no move to attack as we landed on their beach. They were a mean-looking people, dressed in skins or bark or leaves. A few wore bone necklaces and some, feathers. They wore nothing on their feet or heads. Some of them were scarred intentionally in patterns, but there was no tattooing or body piercing. Their housing was very rude, sticks tied together with hides or bark thrown over them in a domed shape.

I approached with Delco and Sacook. We had our shields on our arms, but our weapons were sheathed. Three of the Chono approached us with their weapons lowered, but still in hand. I told Delco what to say and kept an eye on Sacook to make sure he was saying it. Sacook gave no indication of alarm, and before long, the Chono laid down their arms and welcomed us to partake of their evening meal of raw shellfish. Somehow I kept it down. We rowed back out to the boat for the night. Delco had wanted to stay in the village, but I insisted that we all stay together. Once back on the ship, I asked Sacook if Delco had said exactly what I had told him to say and he assured me that he had.

The next day we returned to the Chono with some gifts of knives and asked their permission to build a pier on the other side of the bay from their village. They were very pleased with the gifts and happily gave us permission. Delco asked why we were building a pier and I told him it would make trade easier in this area. The village was on the east side of the bay, so we began working on the west side. I asked the Chono to send word to the other villages that we meant them no harm and had gifts for all the headmen if they would present themselves. They were pleased that the gifts were only for the headmen, not everyone as we had done for them and they quickly fanned out to spread the word.

The Chono were much interested in our activity and no one seemed to notice that after we had cleared a small area on the shore for our camp, we were cutting trees in a pattern to make a path to the north. While the work progressed, Silpitocle, Sacook, Delco, and I explored northward. Only Delco did not realize we were mapping a road. About twelve li to the north, we found a lake that drained to the north along a river. Sacook and I were satisfied that their eastern shores would make an excellent path for the road. We returned to the camp. As we returned, Delco grasped the obvious and asked why I had misled him.

“It’s really quite simple,” I replied, “after looking at the charts, this appeared to be a better place to land. Besides, what difference does it make to you?”

“Oh, it’s just that I had friends in the border village, and I was looking forward to seeing them.” “No problem. You can see them when we reach them.”
“Of course. I didn’t think of that.”

I detailed a man to keep an eye on him when we got back to camp. I also told him to stay in camp in case any of the headmen arrived. The headmen started arriving that evening. We presented each with a fine knife and told them we were here to protect them against their enemies. They told us that the Re Che from Chiloe Island would raid their villages and steal and enslave women and children. They did not tell me that they would raid the Kawesqar for slaves, which they sold to the Re Che. We assured them that the Re Che would not bother them for long. The day before the transport ships were to arrive, I asked Delco if he wanted to visit his friends in the north before we got there. I assured him we would have no trouble communicating with the other headmen. He seemed genuinely surprised by my offer, but jumped at the chance and quickly paddled off. Once he was gone, I had Sacook explain to the Chono that many large ships would be coming to let off men and supplies, but we would then be moving north away from their village and only a small force would remain here. They understood that it was necessary to fight the Re Che and offered to help. I asked them to spread the word to the other Chono that our ships were no threat to them. They agreed.

I next explained to Silpitocle that his fellow Kakan was in league with the Re Che, and if he went north, he would find them heading our way in force. He was stunned, but agreed to find them if they were there and added that he hoped I was wrong. He moved out immediately. By evening, the first of the big ships had dropped anchors in the bay and the men began coming ashore. I was very pleased to see they were from the Maya tumen. I explained the situation to Ah Uk who was among them. The next morning the men all pitched in to finish the pier and unload supplies. Meanwhile during the day, three more of the ships arrived, and the first one departed. By midafternoon the pier was completed and all attention had shifted to the road. The last two ships tied up to the pier to unload cargo and passengers.

The next day, the process continued. The four ships left and six more arrived. In each case the men aboard unloaded supplies quickly and the ships left. The last ship of the day had the first of the horses. Meanwhile the road had already passed the lake and was following the river north. The following few days were the same and by the end of the fifth day, there were three complete tumen ashore with one horse apiece and the road had reached a bend in the river. I had left the camp in the capable hands of Ah Uk and with Sacook was at the road head marking the path it would take.

That evening a crestfallen Silpitocle arrived to tell me that indeed a force of Re Che was on its way. It was not large, only about two thousand men, and they were on foot and being guided by Chono, including Delco. They would reach our position the next day. He apologized for being taken in by Delco. I brushed it off as a small matter and ascertained the exact direction of the force. By morning a trap was set. Silpitocle went back out to make sure they had not changed directions and by noon had returned in time for us to adjust a little to the west. Not long afterward, the enemy began filtering through the forest from the northwest heading toward our road. By the time their leading elements reached the edge of our road head, we had almost closed the trap behind them. They began to mill at the road head looking in vain for our workers and arguing with Delco. Once the envelopment was complete, a screaming arrow was shot into the air, and the men in the clearing were quickly shot down with arrows. We closed with the rest for hand-to-hand combat, since bows were useless in this forest. They resisted bravely for a while and about half of them fell before the rest surrendered. Among the dead was the hapless Delco. He had an arrow in him, but the fatal wound was from a sword at close range, so one of the Re Che must have thought he led them into a trap intentionally. The prisoners were marched on to the port and transported north to work. I sent Silpitocle out again to see if any more Re Che were heading our way, and we continued work on the road.

The rain did not help this project, and we finally had to use the trees to line low spots, which tended to become quagmires easily, and to bridge any streams we had to cross. There was plenty of game, but the other problem we had was the lack of suitable fodder in this dense forest. I was glad we had only brought along one horse apiece for this campaign, and I sent word back that the next supply ship be loaded with fodder. On the other hand, even though it was early summer we had very mild weather. It did get windy, but on the trail we hardly noticed it.

Eight days after our ambush we reached the shore of a long lake and Silpitocle caught up with us. He reported that there was a small Re Che village at the eastern end of the lake inhabited mostly by women and children and some old men. He added that he had found a few more such villages farther north. I sent a tumen with him to surround and capture all the villagers he had found and continued working on our road. Once we reached the village at the end of the lake, we turned northwest along a river until we reached the coast. We found some grassland in this area as well as a Chono village. The Chono fled when we arrived, but we moved a little north of their village and started work on another pier. Before long the Chono returned and eventually were leading us to the neighboring Re Che villages. I sent word that the supply ships should now come to this new port and I sent a message to An Huang that he send one of the fuchuan ships to patrol the area between Chiloe Island and the new port. It occurred to me that the Re Che might also try a “naval” sortie.

By midsummer we had completed the road 620 li from our original landing site. Of course we were hardly using the southern half of the road, but did take some effort to maintain it. I had one tumen guarding the new port, one hunting, two rounding up Re Che, and two working on the road. I rotated the assignment to keep everyone from getting jaded. Much of the road went along or near the coast, and we had just reached a small river when we found a large force of Re Che on the other side in defensive formation behind felled trees. It was hard to tell how many of them there were, but it looked like a strong force. I was a little surprised that they didn’t attack us as we were, but simply waited to challenge our crossing the river. It really wasn’t a wide river, but we couldn’t get close enough to see how deep it was without drawing enemy fire. I decided to concentrate my forces except for the tumen guarding the port.

Within three days, I had five tumen with me and best of all, Silpitocle, whom I sent out immediately to scout. He returned a day later to tell me that there was a large force across the river, but it was smaller than ours. However, they did have at least four cannon, which were well hidden, although he could show us about where they were. I sent scouts out along our side of the river and behind our lines to root out any Re Che spies and sent Silpitocle to find a suitable ford well upstream from the enemy’s position. He did not disappoint and in three days all was ready.

52
End of the Re Che Campaign and Return to Tamalameque 115–6 K
(Southern Chile to NC Colombia, 1483–4)

The battle began with an artillery barrage from us into the area where Silpitocle had seen the cannon. It was not answered. Next a hail of arrows was fired into the enemy position. This was answered. Meanwhile three tumen rushed across the ford upstream and swept down on the enemy position from the north. I was with this latter force so I could react quickly to any surprise. Ah Uk was in charge of the tumen across the river. Silpitocle had been sent out before dawn to look for any possible ambush. He had found nothing, he assured me when he joined us just as we swept into the left flank and rear of the enemy. They were taken by complete surprise and most fled south causing chaos in their line. Some of the Re Che did stand and fight bravely, if futilely. Fortunately we overran their cannon battery before they could turn them on us. Finally trapped between the sea and us, the survivors surrendered.

Among the captured was the leader of this force. He had been knocked senseless by a blow to the head or he would never have been taken. We could tell he was the leader since he wore the white sash of Ordu commander. He was presented to me. He was of medium stature and muscular build like most Re Che. He was dressed in skins and his sash was wool rather than silk like ours. He held himself proudly before me, although it was obvious his head was still pounding. I spoke to him through Silpitocle. He identified himself as Talcahuenu.

“You made a brave, but futile defense of this river,” I said to him.
“You caught all my scouts behind your lines, or I would have been ready for you.”
“I don’t doubt that. You and your men will be sent to the north until this war is over.”
“I would rather die here as a free man than live as your slave in the north.”

“You will not be a slave. You are held as captives only to prevent you from fighting us. We put you to work because idle minds soon turn to mischief. It would have been better had you joined us instead of resisting.” “It would have been better if you had left us in peace. You see what this land is like south of the Bio Bio. Why do you want it?”

“We have worse land that this, like that of the Atacames for example.”
“Must you own the whole world?”
“For the moment we seem to be taking only this landmass.”
“But why?”
“Because the Khan wants it.”
“You let a single man have so much power? Why?”
“It is our way. We have always had a Khan and they have always wanted to expand their Khanate.” “If you do not want us for slaves, what then?”

“Once you stop fighting us, you will be left to return to your villages and way of life. You will not be allowed to make war on each other or your neighbors. If you want to fight wars, you will have to join our armies and go on campaign with us.”

“If we die and are buried far away, our spirits will never find our way to the blessed land across the sea, and we will wander the other world forever.”

“The spirit world is not like that. You can find your way easily to wherever you wish to go.” “Are you a machi?” (A sort of shaman, Silpitocle explained.)
“No. But I have visited places far away in the spirit world and never gotten lost.”
“How can this be?”

“You need a spirit guide. Go within, fasting and meditating until you find your guide. Then ask him to take you where you want to go.”

“You have done this?”
“Yes.”
“Will you show me how?”
“I will.”

While the men fanned out to secure our position and a bridge was thrown across the river, I sat down with Silpitocle, who was still interpreting, and Talcahuenu and taught them both how to seek their spirit guides. I then made sure they were given some solitude to make their quest, although the latter was kept under discreet guard. While they were so engaged, I assessed the situation. We had captured two of their cannon and destroyed the other two. They only had enough powder to fire each a few times, which explained their hesitancy to use them. I did notice that the cannon looked a little the worse for wear and were probably not safe to fire. It seems they did not know how to maintain them properly. I also noticed that their powder was damp. It looked as though we did them a favor preventing them from firing the cannon. I sent four of the tumen out to round up any Re Che and sent Sacook with them to map the area. Meanwhile the other two tumen and the prisoners began to work on the road again.

It took Talcahuenu three days to reach his spirit guide, but he finally made it, although he was quite weak from the fasting. I noticed a serenity in him and he spoke no more of wanting to die, but threw himself into the road building with an enthusiasm that spread to the other captives. Silpitocle gave up his quest after a day, telling me he would try again some other time. I sent him out to look for Re Che again. Several days later Sacook returned with a map. It appeared that we were on a peninsula bordered by a large bay to the northwest and a long estuary in the north. He suggested that we turn the road north to cut across the base of the peninsula. Meanwhile the tumen returned with a few hundred more Re Che women and children from the nearby villages and I sent them on to the port for transport north.

The path Sacook had chosen for us was a rough one up over a ridge and down the other side. Even with the help of the prisoners, it took four days to reach the estuary. As we were working our way along the shore of the estuary, Silpitocle returned to report that the Re Che were gathering across a river that emptied into the base of the estuary. But there were not many of them, so he thought it was just a rear guard. He left again to find the real force. Four days later, we were at the end of the estuary and across the river from the enemy. We exchanged a few arrows and they withdrew into the woods. I sent scouts inland to the north and east and more west along the river to see what was there. I sent Sacook with the last group to map.

I kept the Re Che in the woods engaged by firing an occasional rocket into their position and picking off anyone who showed himself. Meanwhile the Re Che prisoners were marched south to the new port to be transported to the north. We continued the road parallel to the river, but behind a screen of trees, since it was too wide at this point to bridge. I received word that the two fuchuan I had requested were now on patrol and had already intercepted some Re Che boats and shelled and destroyed concentrations of their boats on Chiloe’s eastern shore, where most of the villages happened to be. It seemed the Re Che had made a brazen attack on one of the fuchuan at night, but the watch detected them, and they were driven off. I had to admit they were brave.

On the third day, the scouts all returned to report there were no Re Che to the north or east, only mountains. To the northwest, however, the river made a sharp turn to the northeast where it drained a large lake surrounded by mountains. There were small bands of Re Che all along the river, on the far side, and no fordable spot was detectable. There was an impressive waterfall, however. It was clear we would have to force our way across this river, and from the strength of the current, it wouldn’t be easy.

Our road was now about thirty-six li upstream from the mouth of the river, and the area on the far side of the river appeared rather flat. It looked like the perfect place to cross for our road. I called together the tumen commanders and asked if any of them had men that were well versed in infiltrative tactics. They all assured me that all their men were so trained. I explained that I needed a few jagun that could cross the river soundlessly on a suspended rope, neutralize any of the enemy on the other side, and hold the shore until we could throw a bridge across the river. The bridge would be in sections so we could put it in place quickly overnight. The longer the enemy was unaware of our activity, the better, so supreme stealth was necessary.

After some discussion among them, they finally agreed that the best men to use would be those from some of the jungle tribes well south and east of Tamalameque. They made up about half of one of the tumen. I told their commander to get them ready to move at dark the following day, which would have a moonless night. Meanwhile I asked for the strongest swimmer and a very long length of rope. About this time a soaking wet Silpitocle presented himself. He reported that even though this was the best place for the Re Che to stop us, they were instead massing behind a river some distance to the east. There were only about a thousand of them strung along this river. He suggested that perhaps they did not hold this line because the very large volcano, which loomed over the far side of the river, was smoking and rumbling. There was another volcano also smoking, but not rumbling to the north across the river in that direction. Perhaps they knew something we didn’t.

That gave me pause, but I decided we would have to chance it anyway and would not tarry in the shadows of the two volcanoes. I explained my plan to him and he told me how far upstream the swimmer would have to enter the river to get across it near where we wanted him. He also suggested that he was the strongest swimmer. I reluctantly agreed, for I knew he was the stealthiest man we had. He went to rest. Later that day Sacook returned from his latest mapping foray. The lake to the north was very long and fed by rushing rivers. He had only been able to map the southern shore and it was obvious that going around the lake was not much of an option.

The night of the operation was not only moonless but also cloudy. Just before sunset a light rain began to fall. Silpitocle assured me that it would make his task even easier. We attached the rope to a large strong tree solidly anchored behind the first row of trees, and Silpitocle carried the rest of the rope letting it out along the bank until he was far enough upstream to satisfy him. Actually, there wasn’t much rope left at that point, just enough to tie around his waist. He slipped into the river without a sound and began swimming across. He was soon lost in the gloom and the rain. I followed the disappearing rope downstream until I reached the tree where it was attached. The rope eventually came out of the water and grew taut. The men began to cross on the rope.

Once they were all across, we began working on the bridge. It was difficult in the rain because everything became slippery. But we worked steadily through the night and before dawn the bridge was in place. I started the men across as soon as it was ready. By first light we were all across and fanning out up and down the river. We only killed or captured a few hundred of the rear guard; the rest melted away. It was obvious that a pontoon bridge was too precarious over a river like this one, so I got work started on a suspension bridge. The man we had brought to build the ports knew how to build bridges as well and took to the task with enthusiasm.

After clearing the riverbanks, we swarmed around the volcano and down the west bank of the estuary. There was a large lake north of the volcano and a few abandoned villages on the lakeshore. By evening we were on the western side of the volcano. The next day we reached the bay and the following day started to move west again. It took two more days for the tumen that was clearing the estuary to rejoin us. There were no Re Che there, but it was quite a distance. By the time they rejoined us, we had brushed aside another rear guard and were just reaching their latest river line. This one was impressive. It was a river that drained the large lake into the sea. But the river proved to be about one hundred li long. I couldn’t imagine how they could defend the whole thing.

Instead of challenging them, however, I decided to consolidate. They had evacuated all their people, but I saw what was an ideal place for another port and as soon as our engineer had finished the suspension bridge, I put him to work on the port. I also had Sacook map the newly conquered area. I was surprised to find out when he returned that they had allowed us to cut off Chiloe Island from their lines. By the time the first pier was in place on the new port, Ignacebalikh, after Uncle Theodore’s first son, it was mid autumn. I had sent word that the supply ships should now put in at this port and before long the first one arrived. I left Ah Uk in charge of the Ordu and returned to Theodorbalikh on the supply ship with Sacook and Silpitocle. It was time to put the rest of my plan into action.

When we reached the port, I could see it had been completed and Buzun was just putting some finishing touches on it. I paused long enough to heap some praise on him before continuing on to the camp. I sent Sacook on to finish his mapping. When I arrived in the camp, I found Theodore sulking in his tent while Cimnashote was keeping the men busy on patrol and clearing our side of the river of the dense forest. I approved his efforts and thanked him for keeping the fifteen tumen active. I had the men decamp and march up the river to a spot about two hundred li from the mouth and organized a new camp.

Next I detached six tumen, had them pass Theodore and me in review, and march north as if they were leaving. Once they reached the Laha River, they turned east to follow the path Silpitocle and I had mapped out the previous winter. Much as I wanted to be with this Ordu, I put Cimnashote in command, to his undying gratitude. He was as happy to have independent command as he was to be rid of my hapless cousin. I reluctantly sent Silpitocle with him knowing how invaluable he would be to the enterprise.
Now I turned to our part. I started three pontoon bridges about half a li apart across the Bio Bio. I set all our cannon along the riverbank in plain view to perhaps draw some fire from theirs, but none came. It was not until the bridges were almost complete that we finally heard from their cannon. One of them blew itself up with its first shot, a second managed a second shot before blowing up, the third was silenced by our counter battery fire, but not before destroying one of our bridges. If they had more cannon, they did not use them. We continued to fire across the river while the last two bridges were completed. Then the men poured across and fanned out to form a strong bridgehead. We found a few intact cannon that had failed to fire and been abandoned. I wondered if they had any more. We had accounted for ten so far and most tumen had twelve.

I could see how vulnerable the bridges were so I had enough supplies for many days brought across and then asked Buzun to build a suspension bridge over the river. I detached a tumen to guard and help with this task. With the remaining seven tumen, we began to move south into the wooded valley between the mountains. Six of the tumen proceeded on foot while one remained on horseback in reserve. Before we had gone far, the Re Che had taken advantage of the swift current and sent a flaming raft down the river to set our eastern bridge aflame. The next day a number of large logs tied together splintered our remaining bridge. We replaced the bridges, of course, but they continued to destroy them until the suspension bridge was completed. They were unable to harm that.

As we progressed slowly southward, I sent scouts to find the enemy, but those that returned had found no concentrations, only small bands. These continued to employ hit-and-run and ambush attacks against our flanks, but these were not particularly effective. We easily brushed aside any opposition we met, but were slowed down by all the rivers we had to cross. We came across abandoned villages and fields cut out of the forest. They apparently used the slash-and-burn technique to clear the forest, as some of the clearings were still full of charred tree stumps. I kept the tumen fairly close together, so progress was slowed as we zigzagged across the valley. About one hundred li south of the Bio Bio, we had just turned toward the west again when our left or east flank was attacked in force. The tumen on the flank was able to hold out until the reserve smashed into the enemy and sent them reeling to the south. We were able to capture quite a few of them.

While this was going on, an even larger force attacked the right or west flank. They attacked from the front and our men were able to withdraw slowly so we could bring the next tumen to bear and then slowly drive them back until the third tumen was able to join in and force them to withdraw. I could see that our line had been pulled apart and suspected that an attack on the center might be difficult to repulse. I had the cannon massed and loaded with shot just in time as the largest enemy force charged across a clearing toward our center. The massed cannon shredded their attack and they fell back in confusion. I had to admit, it had been a good plan. We tried to pursue, but didn’t have the numbers to do so effectively.

I concentrated the men and continued south. Again we were subjected to hit-and-run attacks, which annoyed, but did not slow us down very much. We eventually reached a large cleared area around a rather significant village along the Cautin River. It was nestled between two mountains, a larger one to the north and a smaller one to the south. The village was on the north side of the river, but they had fortified both sides of the river with log breastworks. The breastworks were less than half a li from the town and the cleared area in front of them was almost two li.

It was obvious that they hoped we would divide our force and attack on both sides of the river. I suspected there was a force standing by to fall on our rear as soon as we committed to battle. I stayed north of the river and advanced to just out of bowshot. I put two tumen on the front, two facing the rear, one facing the right flank, and three in the middle in reserve. I used the river as my left flank since it was too deep and swift to ford. I next sent out scouts to find the rest of their forces. I should mention that all this time I had been consulting with Theodore exploring options with him and helping him understand why I was taking my decisions. I was rather surprised that he still did not seem to have any feel for tactics at all and, in fact, was usually too paralyzed to suggest anything. I sincerely hoped that he did not make war his career.

A more pleasant surprise at this time was the arrival of my nephew, John, Theodore’s son. I was delighted to finally meet him and I thought he favored Mahwissa more than Theodore. He informed me that my son was well and learning much from his teacher. He also assured me that his parents were well. He did have to report that Mathilde seemed to be getting weaker, although he didn’t know why. Aspenquid also seemed to have lost a step or two. Finally, he thought I should know that Kujujuk was reported to be ailing. I was equally sorry to hear the last three. He added that young Carlotta was thriving with her relatives in the northeast. He remained with us for the rest of the campaign and soon found himself quite busy.

It was now full winter and the scouts began to trickle back and all reported no sign of the enemy to the east or north. There were some of them guarding the paths around and over the mountain north of the town. There was also a large concentration on the south side of a river some twenty-five li south of the town. I could see that there was a pontoon bridge over the Cautin on the western end of the village, so they could evacuate if things became tense. It appeared to be that the whole point of this exercise was so that we would lose men charging across an open field and then fighting through the town. I decided to mess up their plans a little. I had the men cut down some large trees and tie the logs together into a formidable ram which was then thrown into the still swift-flowing Cautin. It smashed into their bridge tearing away the greater part of it.

We opened up with our artillery firing solid shot into their barricades, splintering the logs and wounding the men behind them. Once the barricades were ruined, we followed with shrapnel blasts to further clear the front. Then the mounted tumen rode up and fired flaming arrows into the village setting everything ablaze. Finally once confusion reigned, we charged into the village staying out of bowshot from the south side of the river. Finally we moved the cannon up behind the remains of the barricade and began raking the enemy across the river until they fled to the west, then south behind the southern mountain. We did not get many captives in the village, but we did round up a few hundred who fled west and some more who had been on the north mountain.

Soon we had a bridge over the river, and leaving a tumen behind to mop up, we brought up the horses and surged across. We almost captured their bridge across the Huichahue River, but they fired at it the last minute stranding hundreds of their men on our side. We rounded them up and detached a tumen to take all the prisoners north. We swept along the river looking for any stragglers, but didn’t catch many. While I was looking for a good spot to cross the river, the enemy suddenly seemed to melt away.

We quickly bridged the river and rushed south. We did not get far when we discovered the reason the Re Che had withdrawn. Cimnashote’s Ordu had funneled out from the mountains and hit them in the rear and flank. He captured thousands of them, but some few did manage to slip across the Tolten and disappear into the woods. Still we had captured many of their women and children this time and that had to dishearten them. We crossed the Tolten and continued south. I sent Cimnashote to clear the Tolten valley all the way to the coast, and then continue south along the coast. I kept Silpitocle with me. We continued to capture their women and children who were trying to flee south on foot as well as some of their men who had become too exhausted to continue. Organized opposition began to dissolve and we were able to hunt down and capture small bands of them.

Meanwhile Ah Uk had not been idle in the south. He defied the two volcanoes and sent four of his tumen around the large lake to flank the enemy position. The eruption they counted on did not materialize although the more southerly one continued to smoke and rumble ominously. Ah Uk’s command bagged the bulk of the enemy on the western shore of the lake. They then streamed northward and we met them at the Lollelhue River about 240 li north of their starting point, the Maullin River. Once our forces joined, there was only left some mopping up except for Chiloe Island. By the end of spring, it was done, and at some point along the way, Waikiyaf was killed. We did not recover the body, but he was no longer a factor. On the other hand, Talcahuenu proved to be a force for reconciliation between the Re Che and us. We allowed them to return to their villages except in the far south. Most of our tumen began withdrawing north.

Chiloe Island was attacked in the summer. I let Cimnashote handle the entire operation, and by the early fall, they, too, had surrendered. Their resistance was limited because they were unable to fish or hunt seals since the two fuchuan continued to patrol and sink anything they tried to launch. They also shelled and destroyed all their villages along the coast forcing them inland where they were more fragmented and unable to mount a serious defense. Late in the fall we contacted elements of the Kawesqar and forced peace between them and the Chono. By the following summer, we had made contact with the Yamana although they had already been contacted by the Khanate of the Green Mist, which claimed the large island off the coast. Of course, by then, I was gone. Once the Kawesqar were contacted, I felt the campaign was finished, and with Theodore, Cimnashote, and Silpitocle sailed north from Ignacebalikh to Theodorbalikh. From here we marched north with the original fifteen tumen we had brought with us three years before. It had been a hard campaign and few of the tumen still had half their full strength. The six tumen that had joined us a year later remained behind to complete pacification and root out any diehards. Ah Uk was left in charge of this task and of any further road, bridge, or port building he felt was necessary.

When we reached Theodorbalikh, I was given dispatches from Tamalameque. These included Sacook’s longlamented map of the southern islands, forwarded from the Green Mist. I enjoyed looking at it, even if it was too late to help. Sacook was still mapping the interior at this time, so I couldn’t share it with him. Instead I sent it on to Ah Uk whom we appointed governor of the Re Che lands. He had earlier named Nezahualpili as commander of the Maya tumen, which was returning with me, telling me that the boy had more than proved himself worthy of command. I was very proud of him. Also among the dispatches was the latest letter from Luis. I read and answered it before we started back.

This one was dated Martxoa, 1482. He started by expressing the hope that my campaign was going well. Then he said the expected hostilities had broken out between Espainia and the perfidious Mairu (Moors). The Mairu king of Granada had besieged Zahara, but had been forced to lift the siege by Ferdinando. God was clearly on the side of Espainia since there was a three-party civil war in Granada among the king, his brother, and his son. Otherwise, Hungaria was still getting the best of the emperor and the revolt in Portugal by Ferdinando de Braganza was not doing well at all. There was also word of a civil war in the evil Ottoman Empire over the succession to the murderous Mohammed the Second, called the Conqueror. It was he who had conquered the Byzantine Empire. Nothing else was happening.

I summed up the campaign for him, and then I asked him what the Byzantine Empire was. I also asked him if he really thought God took sides in wars. Since he loved all his creation that did not seem logical. I also ventured that I suspected the Mairu were no more or less evil than anyone else. In my experience the word evil was bandied about too freely when discussing those who disagreed with you. It was beginning to lose any real meaning.

John decided to stay behind and see what he could learn from the local healers. Before we left, he gave me a special pack of things I needed to take now that I was older. It was hard to think of myself as older, but I was forty-four years old now and I supposed that would be considered “older.” Whatever they were, I took them faithfully and still do and continue to enjoy good health.

We reached Cuzco in early winter. Buzun had been appointed governor not long after he completed the suspension bridge over the Bio Bio. Theodore asked him if he knew what had become of Paula, but he only knew that she wasn’t there when he arrived. We did not tarry long, but continued north. It took another season to reach Tamalameque, but it was autumn when we arrived rather than spring because of the change along the way. We filed into the training camp southeast of the capital and the following day Khan Henry came out to thank the tumen, pay them, and dismiss them. Thoxe was with him. Theodore was beside himself with concern about his cousin Paula, but I urged him not to leave the Ordu until his father had dismissed them.

As soon as Khan Henry turned to thank us, Theodore blurted out his questions about this cousin. His father was clearly annoyed with him and Thoxe tried to deflect the question. I discreetly excused myself to bid the men farewell, especially the Maya tumen. When I returned, Theodore looked crestfallen and Khan Henry took me aside to thank me for my flawless handling of the campaign. He urged me to stay in the capital as long as I wished as his guest. I thanked him and agreed, thinking Theodore might need me. I also brought Silpitocle’s invaluable service to his attention and urged him to consider a suitable office for him. He was intrigued and promised to do so. He also told me I had some dispatches waiting for me in the capital. He returned with Theodore leaving Thoxe behind.

Thoxe told me that Paula had been sent to Tlatelolco to marry Khan John. I expressed the fond hope that she would be happy. He also thanked me and asked if Theodore had betrayed any talent for war. I told him frankly that he had not and urged him not to send him on campaign again. He replied that he had expected as much and urged me to spend some time in the capital with Theodore. I promised I would. He then went to talk to Silpitocle to find out how the Khanate could repay him for his service.

I told Cimnashote that I felt I should spend some time in Tamalameque with Theodore and he understood, but had no wish to spend any more time with him and wanted to go back to the Blue Sky. I told him I would join him soon and urged him to visit his parents and give them my love. He said he would. We rode together to Tamalameque, and then he continued on to the coast and a ship home. I rode up to the palace. I was saluted and ushered into the entrance hall. There I was greeted by the head of the guard who led me to a reception hall and gave me my dispatches. These proved to be two letters each from Watomika and Luis.

53
Exile on Amona 116–23 K
(Mona Is., Puerto Rico, 1484–91)

Watomika’s first letter thanked me for passing on the news about Sacook and securing his release from the Re Che, the second thanked me for telling him Sacook was still well. I wrote him a note explaining that both his letters had caught up with me in Tamalameque and that I deserved no credit for extricating Sacook from the Re Che, since my part in that was only coincidental. I went on to tell him that Sacook was mapping the interior of the Re Che lands and was truly a credit to him.

Luis’ first letter dated Martxoa, 1483, thanked me for the information on the campaign and wished me continued success. To answer my questions, he told me that he knew of no comprehensive history of Europa; the professors in the university lectured from their notes rather than from any books. There were some histories of the old Roman Empire written by the Romans, which had survived, but he had never read them. Next, he explained that the Knights of Santu Juan were an order of religious knights who had taken vows like monks, but were warriors whose order was founded to defend the Holy Land. Originally, they had been in the Holy Land along with the Knights Templar, but the evil Musulmen had driven them out and they in turn had conquered the island of Rhodes in 1309. Then he explained that Europa had become Kristau (Christian) over a long time. While the Roman Emperor Constantinus had become Kristau there had been a lot of backsliding and heresy, which God had to punish; that was why the barbarians overran the empire. I felt he was evading my question there. Next, he expressed shock that I didn’t know that Gabon-egun was the day that Kristo was born. The day was Abendua (December) 25. He helpfully added that Abendua was the twelfth month of the year. Finally he announced that he had indeed married the year before and was the proud father of a son named Carlos, after me. He explained that Carlos was the equivalent of Karl in his language. That was rather flattering, but I hope the boy didn’t inherit my family’s curse.

Moving on to the happenings in Europa, in Espainia, the treacherous Mairu had ambushed King Ferdinando at Loja and defeated him. It was a dark day for Kristautasun. In Portugal the revolt of Ferdinando of Braganza against King Juan the Second was still not going well. In Italia, Venezia and the Aitasaindutza were at war with the cities of Milano, Firenze, and Napoles over the city of Ferrara. Hungaria continued to ravage the possessions of the emperor. Ingalaterra has invaded Ezkozia under the figurehead of Alejandro, the younger brother of King Jaime the Third, of Ezkozia. The king had to abandon his capital to his brother’s forces because of a revolt of his nobles. The Ezkozia nobles were always revolting, it seemed, and since they were divided into factions over which noble had the most valid claim to be king. Word had also reached him that the civil war in the Ottoman Empire had been won by Bayazid. He had withdrawn his troops from the Italia city of Otranto and was said to be avoiding hostilities. No doubt that was God’s work. There was nothing else to report.

The second report was dated Martxoa, 1484. He began by expressing his regret that he had not heard from me, but he understood that it might happen since I was so far away. He added that he hoped the campaign was going as well as Watomika had assured him it was. He wondered if Watomika really had any way of knowing how something so far away was going. He also mentioned that his wife and young son, Carlos, were fine although a second son, Jenaro, had died in infancy. He did not know why, but it was not uncommon for such things to happen. He hoped my son was well.
As to events in Europa, in Espainia, King Ferdinando had captured the city of Lucena and with it, Boabdil, the son of the nefarious Mairu King Hassan of Granada. Boabdil was released after acknowledging Ferdinando and Isabella as his sovereigns. His father and uncle, Abdullah, repudiated his pledge. Hassan, Abdullah and Boabdil were engaged in a three-way civil war over the throne of Granada. This was proof that God was on the side of Ferdinando. Meanwhile Ferdinando was reorganizing his army into a professional force much like the formidable Suizos army. He was also building up the fleet. In Portugal, King Juan the Second had crushed the revolt of Ferdinando de Braganza. Frantzia had a new ruler, Carlos the Eighth. In Italia the war over Ferrara continued with the alliance of Milano, Firenze, and Napoles getting the better of it so far. Hungaria continued ravaging the emperor’s eastern possessions and would likely annex them if he couldn’t stop them. The treacherous Ottoman Empire conquered the province of Herzegovina. Finally, King Jaime the Third of Ezkozia had forced his brother to flee and retook his capital. This was because King Eduardo the Fourth of Ingalaterra had died and his brother, Ricardo the Third had taken over for his young nephew, Eduardo the Fifth, and crushed a revolt by one of his nobles. That was all there was to report.

I wrote back a long letter detailing the just completed campaign, and then I expressed my condolences for the loss of his child and assured him that my son was well. Next I asked a few questions. What did he mean by the Holy Land? How was it was that Kristau cities of Italia were fighting the head of the Kristau religion? Had they become pagan or Musulmen? Who are these “nobles” that were revolting against the kings? Do the kings share power with them somehow? I explained that the only revolt we ever experienced in the Khakhanate had been by a disgruntled tribe. We did have a power struggle or two over succession to the Khanate, but they never turned into a war. Finally I added that Watomika would know the outcome of my campaign, since dispatches from the front were sent to the capitals of the Khanates and from there on to the governors. I also wrote letters to Theodore, Mathilde, and Iskagua and Ghigooie telling them about the success of the campaign and thanking Theodore for sending John and praising Cimnashote’s part in the campaign to Iskagua and Ghigooie. I sent off all the letters, then went to look for my young cousin, Theodore. I found him in the garden in the center of the house watching the tiny hummingbirds sampling the many flowers.

He was obviously morose again, but I sat next to him and tried to draw him out. He took a while, but finally acknowledged my presence and after a time started talking. He admitted that he felt more than brotherly affection for his cousin and was devastated that she had been married off to his miserable cousin John. I pointed out that John was a suitably distant relative and furthermore it allied the Khanate of the Clouds to the Khakhanate by marriage since John was the grandson of the Khakhan. He admitted that he knew I was right, but when one is in love, one doesn’t care about what was right. I consoled him as best I could and urged him to be patient; there was always more than one person with whom one could fall in love. He pointed out that if that were true, I would have remarried. I tried to explain that the special relationship I had with Carlotta could not be found with anyone else, but were I so inclined, I was sure I could find another woman with whom I could be happy. We continued talking over the next few days and he slowly emerged from his depression and went back to being a young man.

What really helped him snap out of it was his little parrot, Q’omer-inti-tuso’h. She was quite a character. She would play incessantly, rolling over on her back and savaging pieces of wood, leather or cloth. She would sing the opening lines of several songs in one of the local languages. It seems she would only imitate one of the servants, who, among her other tasks, had to take care of the bird. She would laugh or cry just like the servant did and would prattle on in her gibberish version of the girl’s language with occasional real words thrown in at random. The singing was clear and the notes and words perfect, however. The girl joined us one day to sing along with Q’omer. I had to wonder what the very dignified Cuauhtzin would think of this little green bundle. I, of course, thought she was most charming. I also got to see what Theodore had meant about her feathers defocusing your eyes. It was an odd sensation.

I was about to leave Tamalameque when word reached us that the Khakhan had died. An official period of mourning was decreed and I took part in all the ceremonies since I did regard Kujujuk highly. When the mourning period was over, it was midwinter and I decided it was time I returned to the Blue Sky. I asked for an audience with Khan Henry. It was quickly granted.

“I was about to send for you,” he explained when I presented myself.
“Do you need my services?”

“No, you have already done more than I could ask of you. I have received a message from the new Khakhan, Juchi. It does not make sense, but it is not my place to question his orders.”

 

“Do his orders concern me?”

 

“Yes. It seems you are to report to Amona Island and remain there until further notice. I don’t even know where that is. Do you?”

 

“Yes. It is a small island between the large islands of Aiti and Boriquen. It is the place to which Kujujuk exiled his daughter Chabi. I suspect the hand of my cousin John in this somehow.”

 

“After all you have done for me during this recent campaign, I am willing to report that you left already and I can’t find you.”

 

“Thank you. It means a lot to me that you would offer to do that. It won’t be necessary, however. I have no fear of spending my last years in such a place. Solitude does not bother me at all.”

“Will you at least accept an honor guard to escort you to Yumabalikh?”
“If that will please you, I will accept it.”
“My son and I will be leading the escort.”
“Thank you.”
“We will leave in the morning.”

I was surprised that John had gotten Juchi to exile me, but I was not at all upset about it. I was surprised that Khan Henry wanted to escort me to the port. That was not only an honor to me, it was a bold statement of disapproval for the order. I wondered if there would be any repercussions from Juchi. I hoped not. Meanwhile I found a quiet spot and summoned my guide and Carlotta. We went to visit John. He was aware of us and soon joined us. I explained my situation and urged him to stay where he was and not try to see me since I would be unable to protect him and it was such a long journey. He told me not to worry; he would visit me every day in spirit and come immediately if he was needed. We all clung to each other until I fell asleep.

The next morning after a fine breakfast, Khan Henry, Theodore, and I mounted up in front of two jagun from the Khan’s guard in their white uniforms, and an equal number of attendants and rode north to Yumabalikh. We moved at a leisurely pace camping along the way in the Khan’s luxurious tent. It took twice as long as usual to reach Yumabalikh. All along the way, both Khan Henry and Theodore chatted amiably with me as though we were old friends. It was strange since I barely knew the former. When we reached the port, Khan Henry stood on the pier with me while Theodore led the troop by in review. Then he walked me to the ship, a fuchuan again, and bade me a surprisingly affectionate farewell.

The whole scene was not lost on the ship’s crew, for I was treated with deference even by the typically stolid Chosin captain, who personally escorted me to my cabin and asked permission to sail with the next tide. My cabin was easily the nicest on the ship, but then I seemed to be the only passenger. On the ninth day, we dropped anchor off the west coast of Boriquen. I was rowed ashore to a small village and was wished well. I thought that was rather strange, but I went on into the village and asked to see the headman or guama, as he was called in Taino. The guama, whose name was Daguao, was a very dignified-looking man with the bearing of a warrior in spite of his advanced age. I asked him who ruled this particular province. He told me that this was the province of Yagueca and the kaseke’s name was Behechio. I asked if he could have someone guide me to him and he insisted that he would take me there the next morning and asked me to be his guest for the evening. The name Behechio was familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it at the time. That evening he asked if I was returning from campaign and, when I said I was, asked about it. I gave him the short version and he was most interested. It was no surprise to me to learn that he had been on campaign in the Green Mist for some ten years in his youth.
The next morning we rode up a trail along a pleasant river called the Yaguez until we left it around noon to follow another path that seemed to veer a little to the southeast. The vegetation was not exactly lush like in a jungle, but it was rather thick. Once we gained the trees, we lost the breeze and the humidity became more uncomfortable. The terrain was hilly, but not difficult. After a short time, the trail brought us to another river trail. This river was called the Maricao. This proved to be a more narrow valley and the vegetation became more lush. Toward midafternoon we reached Yagueca, Behechio’s town. We were taken to guest caney, as they called their thatch huts, and all our needs were tended until Behechio returned from a trip. Daguao and I traded war stories along the ride to Yagueca and until he left the next morning. I had a very pleasant stay waiting for Behechio. I had been among the Taino in Xaymaca before, but never on this island. I found them just as friendly and generous. I wandered around and looked at their fields. They grew their staple, cazabi (yucca), in mounds, about knee high and perhaps twice as wide, that were called conuco. They would also plant some other things in the mounds like boniata (sweet yucca), a similar plant, and batatas (sweet potatoes) or camohtli as we called them in Nahual. They also grew a little centli, which they called ector, but it was not an important food for them. They also grew some types of etl and chili, but not nearly the varieties used in Anahuac. They grew cotton for clothing and also cultivated fruit, especially matzahtli, which they called anana (bananas), and a sweet acid yellow fruit they called guayava. I also saw their ball courts, a very pale reflection of those in Anahuac.

After three days, Behechio returned and I was immediately brought to his rather large house that was called a bohio. He was a tall, well-proportioned man somewhat younger than me. He was sitting on his low, backless ceremonial chair glowering at the door as I entered. When I walked in and presented myself, the stern look he wore dissolved into a huge smile.

“It is you! The man who saved me from the snow.”
“I did?”
“Was I merely one of many you pulled from death’s hands?”

“A snow storm? Wait, now I remember. That was a long time ago. You certainly look a lot better than when I saw you last.”

“I spent days trying to find you to thank you once I recovered, but no one knew where you were.” “They were probably just protecting me from a stranger. That has proved necessary over the years.”

“Well, very well met at last. Thank you for all your help to a very young and very foolish boy, who did not appreciate the danger posed by snow. What can I do to serve you?”

“I need a boat to take me to Amona Island where I have been exiled by the Khakhan.”
“What? Why?”

I tried to explain the situation to him and he offered to report that I must have gotten lost in the jungle. I told him I really didn’t mind the exile and it would be best if I were there in the event that I was needed again. I did ask him if he would see that my correspondence reached me. He guaranteed it. Then he insisted that it would be a personal insult if I didn’t let him send his uncle and aunt, Macon and Amana, with me to take care of all my needs. I pointed out that an exile was supposed to be alone. He replied that it wasn’t my fault that he had sent them there to watch over the island before I arrived and it would be very unfair to demand that they leave. I agreed as long as it wasn’t too odious to them. He explained that they had no children and would enjoy the change. Somehow I wondered, but they have never given me any reason to think they have been put upon in the slightest. They are a very close couple and really enjoy the time by themselves.

I asked Behechio about Amona, and he told me that it had long been inhabited by people from the Aiti province of Higuey. When the unfortunate Chabi was sent there, all were removed back to Higuey and well compensated for their discomfiture, but warned of dire consequences should they ever return. It was part of his duty to see that the island remained uninhabited, so he would periodically send a few boats out there to check on it, but he had never been there himself. Since people had lived there, I had to suppose it was the solitude rather than the island, itself, that had proved intolerable to Chabi. I asked if they fed her or left her to fend for herself. He said that they had been ordered to deliver food to her every few days. He understood it was always a trial with her trying to get on the boats. Everyone was relieved when she killed herself. For the first time I felt a little sorry for her.

A few days later, Macon, Amana, and I rode to Daguao’s village on the coast where we spent the night as his guests. The next morning we were rowed in the large, painted dugout canoe belonging to Behechio all the way out to the island by a crew of sixty men. With us were all the things we would need to build two huts and enough food and water to tide us over until they returned in several days. We landed on a small beach on the southwest side of the island and Macon and Amana made a point of getting on shore before me, to further the fiction that they were there first. The crew unloaded everything and carried it up the precarious trail dug into the cliff side to the top. They then insisted on building the two caneys under Amana’s strict supervision, again theirs was built before mine. She then fixed a fine meal and they stayed the night. We had a fine time trading stories until quite late. They left at dawn.

The next day, Macon went off to fish, Amana went looking for a place to plant a garden, and I decided to explore the island. I spent most of the first few days walking around the perimeter of the island. I calculated it to be at least fifty li and shaped sort of like an etl. Over the next few days I discovered that it was about nineteen li from east to west and a bit more than twelve li from north to south. The vegetation was sort of desert scrub except for some mangrove forests and in the several sinkholes, one of which Amana was using for her garden. The island is full of sea birds nesting in the cliffs and a rather large version of the lizards called cuetzpalin in Nahual and iguana in Taino. There are also bats in the many caves, but no other animals on the island. There are some rather large spiders. They are not the hairy ones I knew well from the coastal regions of Anahuac, but just large long-legged spiders. They fed on the also large and obnoxious flies. There are also some parrots in the mangrove forests.

The island was mostly gray limestone over tan dolomite and jutted out of the ocean as much as two hundred feet. The largest beach was on the southwest side near where we landed. Just east of that is a thick mangrove forest. The cliff is over a li from the shore in this area. There are smaller beaches on the west and southeast shores, but elsewhere the ocean laps at the bottom of the cliffs. I found the remains of two ball courts on the island, so it must have had a good-sized population at one time. Some of the caves had pictures painted on the wall and carvings of various symbols and creatures of Taino myth. I also noticed a very small but very tall island off the northwest coast. It is probably ten li away. Over that first year, I explored and mapped as many of the caves as I could reach, but finally grew tired of it.

I had arrived on the island in late winter. Late in the following spring, I received letters from Theodore, Watomika, and Luis. The letter from Theodore thanked me for my kind words about John, and then gave me some devastating news. My sister Mathilde had died late that winter. She had taken ill, but died before he could reach her. Aspenquid was devastated and looked completely lost. Theodore was not optimistic about him. The older children had been notified and Sarah was on her way to tell Little Carlotta. The latter was to have returned home this summer, but under the circumstances would be given the choice of staying where she was or going back with Sarah. He also wanted me to know that the Khakhan exiled me in order to stop John’s attempts on my life. He warned John that if he made any further such moves, he would be sent to replace me on Amona. Theodore added that he didn’t think I would be here forever.

Watomika wrote that he had been transferred to the capital. He regretted my exile and would use his good offices to reverse it. He assured me that his successor, Beedut, would see that I got all my correspondence from Luis. He included a short note from Beedut affirming that and expressing being honored to do so. That was most kind. From his name, he must be an Anishinabe. I didn’t know many of them had entered the Khan’s service, but they are a fine people, not known for empty promises.

Luis congratulated me on my successful campaign, but expressed his shock and disbelief that I had been rewarded with exile and asked if I wanted him to rescue me. All he would need is some idea where I was, and he was sure he could get his fellows to pick me up on the way home. In answer to my questions, he wrote that the Holy Land was the place where Kristo was born and lived. It was the land that his presence made holy. The evil Ottomans dominated it at moment. I could find it on the map in the southeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea. The cities in Italia were still Kristau, but were fighting the Aitasantu in his capacity as the ruler of the Aitasainduaren States (Papal States). I would find them on the map in the middle of the Italia peninsula. Finally he explained that nobles were the tier just below the king, although there was a hierarchy of nobles. The highest nobles were dukes, earls, and barons, and they tended to rule over large areas. They generally had sworn fealty to their king, but often felt that they should be king. Because of all the intermarriage among kings and nobles, things could get rather confusing, especially if a king died without any direct heirs.

As to the events of the past year in Europa, King Ferdinando was still working on his army and navy, and had only taken a small area in the western part of the Mairu Kingdom of Granada. In Italia, Venice and the Aitasantu had been defeated and Ferrara was free. Mateo was still ravaging the emperor’s lands. The evil Ottomans had attacked the Poloinia province of Moldavia. Its ruler, Esteban (Steven), was resisting, and the Poloinia King Casimiro was rushing to his aid. Esteban had repelled an earlier invasion in 1475. Ingalaterra again invaded Ezkozia, but was again repulsed. It had been said that the Ingalaterra Regent Ricardo the Third had imprisoned his nephews, the boy king and his younger brother.

I wrote letters to Aspenquid and all the children expressing my condolences on the loss of Mathilde. I wrote about a different anecdote illustrating what a special person she was to each of them. I thanked Theodore for his information about my exile and reminisced about Mathilde. I thanked Watomika for all his help and kindnesses and sent Beedut a note thanking him for sending on Luis’ correspondence. Finally I wrote to Luis thanking him for wanting to rescue me, but assuring him I didn’t need rescuing. I was quite happy in my exile and was enjoying a sort of retirement. In fact I really doubted if his fellows would have been willing to jeopardize their very lucrative arrangement to rescue me, but it was kind of him to offer.

Late in the summer, I was surprised to wake one morning and find a small ship at anchor off our landing site. My first thought was that it might be another one of John’s assassins in spite of the Khakhan’s warning, but as I watched, a boat was lowered, and the crew rowed a man and boy with a parrot on his shoulder ashore. I could not see from this distance, but I was sure I knew who the boy and parrot were. I rushed down the cliff trail to the beach and as the boat drew near I could hear the unmistakable shriek of Cuauhtzin. I recognized the boy as John and the man as Cimnashote. They both splashed ashore while Cuauhtzin launched himself into the air and landed on my shoulder. I embraced them both and invited them all to my caney.

Cimnashote explained that they could only remain until high tide, but since that would be near dusk, they had most of the day. I was surprised that Cuauhtzin transferred his loyalty back to me so abruptly. He remained with me all that day and ever since. John had grown considerably since I had last seen him, but I would know him anywhere. His mother’s face was all over his, and anyway I saw him in the dream world every night. He was only eleven, but he seemed so mature, so calm, so much at peace. He did not just seem happy, he seemed serene, as though he would not take notice of a hurakan storm if it suddenly broke over the island. He was still with Ayun’ini and Egwani. There were also a few others with them now. He had brought me Cuauhtzin because he felt the winters in the mountains were too hard on him, and, anyway, he was my bird, not his. I thanked him, and asked what he had learned over the last five years. He told me as much as he thought I would understand, but, of course, I didn’t. I could tell he was where he should be.

Cimnashote told me that Ghigooie and Iskagua had both died that winter, first his father, then his mother. Before she died, however, Ghigooie had made him promise to find John and bring him to see me and give me my grandfather’s book that I had left with her when I was a boy. He had kept his word. He presented the book to me and reminded me that his mother had seen me writing one of my own, so he had also brought me a bundle of paper. I thanked him and asked what he had been doing since we parted company. He said that he had gone right back to Itsati and reached there before winter. He was there for the deaths of both his parents. He had met a widow named Woey, who was just about his age. They had become friends and had married. Ghigooie lived long enough to see it and was very happy about it. I congratulated him and wished him all the best.

Late in the afternoon, I accompanied them back down to the beach to the boat. I embraced them both and thanked them for coming and for bringing Cuauhtzin and my grandfather’s book. As the boat pulled away, Cuauhtzin gave out a plaintive shriek, but remained firmly attached to my shoulder. I reached up and gave him an understanding pat, then turned and went back up the cliff. I remained on the cliff edge until their ship dropped beyond the horizon. They were heading west into the setting sun. I sighed heavily and Cuauhtzin mumbled something in Otomi and we returned to my caney.

I’m afraid Cuauhtzin’s charm was lost on Macon and Amana. They agreed he was beautiful, but thought he was too loud. They felt I should have a higuaca, one of the beautiful parrots of Boriquen, some of which could be found on the island. They are mostly green with a white ring around their eyes, something like Q’omer, but a little smaller, with no yellow on the back of their heads. Instead they have blue wing tips and a red spot over their beaks. They make a very loud shriek as they fly, however, so I really didn’t see why Macon and Amana preferred them. Anyway, while Cuauhtzin could leave one’s ears ringing on occasion, he was generally very quiet and dignified. From the look in his eye, I could see that he was getting old. I was always sure he was older than me, but really didn’t know how much.

Once Cuauhtzin and I got thoroughly reacquainted and used to each other, I sat down and read again my grandfather’s book. It had the desired affect and I began to write this book. I came to see what he meant by reliving all the events of his life in writing about them. It has been wonderful. Of course, it took a long time, some six years. Every year Cimnashote comes to see me and to bring more paper. Every year I get a letter from Luis and a few from some of my relatives. John has not been back, but he and Carlotta still visit me every night as they promised.

Aspenquid died the winter after Mathilde. My brother Theodore died the following spring. Mahwissa lived another four years. Other relatives of mine, died, got married, had children and so on. My nephew John, Theodore’s son, took over from his father and kept me up to date on all the relatives. It has become a daunting task and I won’t even try to summarize it here.

Luis’ letters came every year, usually in late spring or early summer. Over the years he had three more children, another boy and two girls. One of the girls died in infancy also. He kept me posted on the happenings in Europa. To summarize, during the years he called 1485 through 1491 the following occurred. In Espainia, King Ferdinando continued his campaign against the Mairu. He captured Ronda in the west and Cambil in the north in 1485, Loja in 1486, Malaga in 1487, Huescar, Velez-Rubio and Mojacar in 1488, the fortresses of Baza and Almeria and the cities of Zujar and Guadix in the east and Almunecar in the west in 1489 and had camped outside Granada in 1490. This was the last stronghold of the Mairu on the peninsula. Portugal continued exploring the west coast of Africa reaching the southern tip in 1488. In Frantzia, a revolt by the dukes of Orleans and Bretagne supported by the Ingalaterra king was defeated early on in 1488, but skirmishing continued for a few years. In Itailia, the Napoles barons supported by the Aitasantu had revolted against their King Ferdinando in 1485, but with the support of the city of Firenze he defeated them by 1486. In the empire, Mateo took Wien and all of the emperor’s home provinces in 1485. The following year the emperor’s son, Maximiliano, took over from his father and organized a standing imperial army. He supported the revolt in Frantzia, and then turned his attention to Hungaria attacking them in his home province and capital in 1490. Mateo, the king of Hungaria, died that year and was succeeded by his son, Ladislao the Sixth. In Ingalaterra, King Ricardo the Third was suspected of murdering his young nephews in 1485 since they died in his custody. Later that year, a rival claimant to the throne named Enrique Tudor led a revolt aided by some soldiers from Frantzia. He prevailed in a great battle at Bosworth when most of Ricardo’s forces switched sides. Enrique became king. In 1487 he put down a revolt of a man claiming to be the nephew of the late King Ricardo. Jaime the Third of Ezkozia was killed putting down another revolt of his nobles. In Poloinia, the king led an army into Moldavia to face the Ottomans, but they made a truce and withdrew in 1485. It seemed that the Ottomans were fighting other Musulmen in Egypto.

That brings me up to date. I will write more as it occurs.
54
Colon, 124 K
(Mona Is. PR to Port au Prince, Haiti)

I didn’t think I’d be writing any more, but two events brought me back to the journal. The first was the death of my beloved, oldest living friend, Cuauhtzin. He seemed quieter than usual during this past winter, which season was hardly noticeable here. Early in the spring, I noticed he was not preening himself effectively. I took over and did it for him. It is probably hard for anyone who has not known such a creature to understand, but I felt he was grateful to me for my help. He seemed to look at me with affection rather than the stolid dignity to which I had become so accustomed. It was not really a surprise the morning I found him lying on the ground under his perch. I buried him down in the mangrove forest since that was more natural to him that the desert scrub on the cliffs. That night I sought out John in the dream world to tell him of the loss of our friend. He was glad he had brought him back to me for his last years. I had often wondered just how old he was. The best guess was that he was easily older than me. Macon offered to catch one of the higuacas for me, but I preferred to see them fly around freely.

Later in the spring, the second event occurred. I received an interesting letter from Luis. It seems that the city of Granada surrendered early this year and King Ferdinando was considering financing an expedition by a man from Italia to sail west to find the “Indies” which was what they call the Middle Kingdom and its neighboring countries. He reports that the man, Colombo, had been wandering around the capitals of Europa looking for a sponsor for this expedition for some time before finding a sympathetic ear in Queen Isabella. From what he understood, Colombo has miscalculated the size of the earth by a third, so he has no idea that the Khakhanate lay in his path. Luis has reported this development to the Khakhan, but wasn’t sure what he should do. Since Colombo was unaware of what actually lay in his path, the Khakhan was fairly sure no Euskera betrayed our arrangement. In any case he had agents in place to join the expedition if possible.

While I was mulling this over, a fuchuan came into view and dropped anchor off our beach. It was flying the pennant of the Khakhan, but I doubted he was on board. As I watched, a boat was dropped and a Kashik officer was rowed ashore by six of the green-clad sailors. As they drew near, I went down to meet them and saw that the officer was a minghan commander. He splashed ashore and saluted me.

“Sir, the Khakhan requests that you accompany me at once.”
“To the ship?”
“Yes.”
“The Khakhan is on that ship?”
“No.”
“Will I be returning here?”
“No.”
“I must take a moment to return to my caney and get some things.”
“Please hurry, sir.”

I was reasonably sure I wasn’t under arrest from his courtesy. I went up to tell Macon and Amana what was going on and asked them to send my journal to Cimnashote to hold for my son. They promised to do so and wished me luck. I got a few things and returned to the impatiently pacing Kashik. Once I reached the beach, he jumped back in the boat. I followed him and the sailors pushed us out to sea. We soon reached the fuchuan and climbed aboard. The Kashik led me to the cabin area and scratched on the door of the main cabin in the back. The door was opened by a bent-over ancient who looked like he might be a Pansfalaya and I was ushered in without a word. The ancient then reclaimed his seat next to the door.

The cabin was luxuriously appointed, but not particularly large. Seated at a table in the middle of the room was a man of about my age, but a little shorter and with gray hair that hung down to his shoulders. He was dressed in a raw silk tunic and leather pants and boots like a warrior and wore no indication of any rank. I could not tell by looking at him what tribe he was from. He looked up from his writing when I entered and motioned me into a chair across the table from him, without changing his expression. When he finished writing, he sat back and looked me over.
“Well, you are a strange-looking one, as I was warned.”

“You have me at a disadvantage.”
“My name is Chowa. I am the Governor of the Islands.”
“Chowa is a Kadohadacho name. I would have thought the Khakhan would have appointed a Taino.”

“Well, he didn’t. But if it makes you feel any better, my mother is a Taino. However, I didn’t come to see you to discuss my ancestry or your strange looks. The Khakhan has need of your services.”

“Of course. What does he wish me to do?”
“I understand you receive letters from our agent from across the eastern sea?”
“Luis, the Euskera, yes.”
“Did he inform you that one of the local rulers was sending an expedition in our direction?” “Yes, he did say that appeared to be imminent.”

“From what he wrote the Khakhan, the expedition should be arriving in our area since they will be following the trade winds west from a group of islands southwest of Europa. I can’t remember what they are called, but they’re on the map he sent us. We have ships stationed along this island chain to intercept them and bring them to us in Aiti. I am given to understand that you can speak some of their languages.”

“Yes. I can speak Luis’ language and an old language called Latin that is still understood by the educated. When do you expect this expedition?”

 

“That isn’t clear, perhaps later in the summer or even the fall. But you are to accompany me to Aralbalikh, my capital, so that you are available when they are apprehended.”

 

“I would be glad to do so. What does the Khakhan want to do with the expedition members?” “I understand he hasn’t decided yet. But we will be receiving instructions soon. Obviously he doesn’t want us to kill them, or he wouldn’t be bothering you to speak to them. I think he wants to know what their intentions are.” “Trade with the Middle Kingdom, from what Luis wrote.”

 

“Well, that isn’t possible now, is it? If it weren’t for the Chosin, we would have no trade with them. What do you suppose they want from the Middle Kingdom? Silk? Ceramics?”

“Luis told me that silk was highly prized.”
“What do you suppose they have to trade?”
“I have no idea, but if they come, we’ll find out.”
“Indeed. Your cabin is next to mine, the next door up the hall on the right. I’ll see you at dinnertime.” “Thank you, sir.”

He went back to his papers and I placed my things in the cabin, then went back out on deck. We were already sailing away from Amona and I watched it disappear in the east as we sailed swiftly west and wondered if I would eventually end up back there again. By evening I could see the southern coast of Aiti to the north. At dinner Chowa proved to be an indifferent conversationalist until the subject turned to campaigns. It seems he had risen through the ranks from warrior to Ordu commander over three campaigns in the Green Mist. His last effort had been about the time of mine. He had been involved in taking a part of the jungle. He told me it would take many campaigns to take all of the jungle and in the end it was probably not worth the bother. I told him about the Re Che campaign and he listened with rapt attention. He said he had not faced such a foe, although the Genakin were good fighters. The jungle tribes were very hard to fight. They would set up ambushes, and then melt into the trees. Any village he would come upon would be deserted. He only began to make progress when he was able to ally with one tribe against another. He didn’t much like that approach, but it was necessary. I expressed gratitude that I was never called upon to do any jungle fighting.
It was fortunate we were able to talk about campaigns since the trip took five days, over the course of which we must have almost exhausted our mutual store of war stories. Of course, I only saw him for evening meals; the rest of the time I was on my own. The only passengers on the ship were Chowa, his ancient assistant, the Kashik and I. The Kashik kept to himself and would not say a word, even during meals. I never found out his name since I got the impression he didn’t want to be bothered. I supposed he was not particularly pleased to be on this mission instead of with the Khakhan. The ancient assistant must have taken his meals elsewhere since I didn’t see him again until we left the ship. I spent most of the days looking at the southern coast of Aiti as we sailed along. The first third of the island appeared fairly flat along the coast, but the rest was quite mountainous. The vegetation looked lush from my vantage point. Early on the fourth day we turned north, then east following the long narrow southwestern peninsula back to the main land and the new port city of Aralbalikh.

The ship pulled up to a pier and dropped anchor. Chowa led the Kashik, the ancient, and me along the pier to the town where a jagun was waiting to escort us to his residence. We mounted up for the short ride. It was rather a small place for a governor’s residence, but was made of stone with high ceilings in the usual design with a pleasant garden in the center. I was shown to my fair-sized room by an attendant who also gave me the schedule of meals and events. I was informed that my attendance at these was expected; otherwise, I was on my own, unless the governor wished to see me. When I thought of the informal warmth of Watomika, I had to wonder what Chowa’s problem was. Perhaps he still thought he was on campaign and had to maintain strict discipline. I don’t think he inherited much from his mother’s people.

Aralbalikh was still a small town of barely a hundred houses, mostly caneys. There was a tumen camped up in the mountains above the town. I went up to visit and was very cordially received, but I didn’t find anyone I knew. Most of the men were Dzitsiista, Ocheti shakowin, and Kensistenoug. I did some exploring in the jungle, seeing many colorful birds, although none were like Cuauhtzin. I always think of him when I see a colorful bird. I still miss him. There were no higuacas here, but there was a similar small green parrot with very different markings. It has a white area over the beak and a red spot under it. It has black patches on its cheeks and a dark red area on its lower front. When it flies, its wings look blue. I wondered if each island had its own version of the green parrot. I wished I had noticed the ones on Xaymaca, but I hadn’t.

Summer dragged on and there was still no sign of this Colombo. I had answered Luis’ letter and asked him how it was he knew what was going on in the royal court. I asked if he had an agent there. I also told him how his news had ended my exile and expressed the hope that perhaps I would get to see him next year. I also sent a letter to Behechio explaining my current situation and thanking him for all his kindness, especially the services of Macon and Amana. Finally I sent a letter to Cimnashote, telling him what was going on and advising him that my journal was being sent to him.

If it were not for the westerly breezes, Aralbalikh would be uninhabitable in the summer. Fortunately, they only rarely failed. Chowa and I discussed every campaign we knew anything about over the course of the long summer. The Kashik was mercifully recalled to the capital midway through the summer. Chowa didn’t seem to notice that he wasn’t at meals any more. Late in the summer, a merchant ship put into port and among the passengers were Chowa’s wife and children. She was a Kadohadacho named Bedoka. He had three sons, T’amoh, Cissany, and Haduskats, and a daughter, K’undeekuh. The boys were fourteen, twelve, and nine, and the daughter six. When Chowa saw them, I finally discovered that he could smile. He was very fond of his family, especially K’undeekuh.

Bedoka immediately took over the household and busily rearranged things. She is a very pleasant, but busy woman. I don’t think I have ever seen her sit still. T’amoh was sent to the tumen camp to train, but the younger boys were allowed to run around and have themselves some adventures. K’undeekuh shadowed her mother wherever she went. I decided it was time I did some fishing. I joined some of the off-duty soldiers trying their luck off one of the piers. We rarely caught anything, but it was more relaxing than hanging around the residence.

Summer turned imperceptibly into autumn and there was still no sign of the intrepid explorer. I began to wonder if he had come to grief in a storm or if King Ferdinando had changed his mind. One evening during my usual visit with Carlotta and John, I asked them if they knew what had happened to him. They admitted that they hadn’t looked for him, but we all could if I wished. I decided to do so and we were soon above three small ships sailing through a wide area full of seaweed. They were farther north than Chowa expected them to be, but they were making good progress. I noticed the ships’ armament, but I didn’t want to see any more of them just yet, so we returned. John asked me what the Khakhan would do to them. I had to admit that I didn’t know, but since he wanted me to talk to them, I didn’t think he meant them any harm. Carlotta urged me to protect them if I could. That was no surprise.

Two days later, a new fuchuan bearing the Khakhan’s pennant sailed up to the pier and dropped anchor. I was fishing off the pier, so I got up, gathered my things, and walked back to the town. Before long, a jagun of Kashik disembarked from the ship along with a very well dressed man a bit younger than me. He was tall, like an Ocheti shakowin or a Leni lenape, but he didn’t look like either of them. He looked more like a Hotcangara, but he didn’t seem to have the sneer most of them affect. I wondered who he was. I stood to one side as the jagun marched past and the man glanced around absently at the crowd and caught sight of me.

“Halt!” he ordered and the jagun stopped. “Orlok Kheree?” He addressed me by my Mongol name and title— which I didn’t think we used.

“Yes, sir,” I answered.
“Of course”—he laughed—“you don’t know who I am, do you?”
“No sir.”
“I am Khakhan Juchi.”
“I’m sorry, sire. You don’t look at all like your father.”
“No, I favor my mother. Come, walk with me.”

As I fell in beside him, Chowa came riding up furiously with a jagun of his own. Juchi greeted him warmly and told him to walk along with us. He said it felt good to have the firm ground under his feet again, and he wanted to walk to the residence. Chowa expressed regret that he didn’t know he was coming and hoped he would give them time to vacate their rooms. He told him not to bother, he could stay in a guest room, and he didn’t want me displaced either. I began to form a favorable opinion of Juchi. Once that was settled, he turned to me.

“You must have known that I gave you every opportunity to escape the exile in Amona. Why did you go anyway?”

 

“I wondered about that, sire, but I welcomed the solitude and the thought that I need not worry about any more attempts on my son’s life.”

“Your son is quite a shaman. He is so young and already I hear great things about him. I doubt if you ever have to concern yourself about his safety. I have also heard stories about my foolish nephew’s assassins. As I understand it, he is now afraid of your son.”

“Fear usually precedes hate.”
“Perhaps, but it also tempers rashness. Anyway, what do you think has become of our would-be visitors.” “They are north of the island chain, sire. They will likely make their landfall among the Lucayo.” “Do I want to know how you know this?”
“Well, it was a skill my son taught me.”
“I see. How soon will they arrive?”
“A few weeks at most.”
“Well” —he turned to Chowa—“be sure to send some ships north to intercept them.”

“There are three ships, sire,” I continued. “The largest is less than half the size of a fuchuan. The smaller ones are fast, but not as fast as a fuchuan.”
“Interesting.” He again turned to Chowa. “Send three fuchuan together to catch them all.” He turned back to me. “Are they armed?”

“I only saw small cannon.”
“Excellent. I will stay until they arrive.”
“What will you do with them, sire?” I asked.
“That depends on their intentions and demeanor. We will see.”

At the request of Chowa, I taught the captains of the fuchuan that were going after Colombo a few key phrases in Latin. Specifically, “You will come with us,” and, “If you attempt to flee, you will be sunk.” It was a bit rude, but that was what I was told to teach them. I offered to go along, but since three groups of three ships were being sent, the Khakhan wanted me to stay here. It was almost exactly three weeks from the day of the Khakhan’s arrival that three fuchuan appeared towing the three little ships of our visitors. One of the fuchuan and the three little ships were brought up to the pier and their anchors dropped. The other two fuchuan remained in the harbor. I was sent to bring their leaders to the Khakhan.

I watched as the crews were ordered off their ships. They were a motley-looking group; all were bearded with no sort of uniforms, just the loose-hooded shirts and breeches like the Euskera wore with a few exceptions. These few were better dressed and one of them carried a sword. Once all were gathered at the end of the pier, I noticed a rather pungent odor coming from them. I tried to ignore it, but during my pause, one of the ordinarylooking men stepped forward and began to speak in some strange tongue. I turned to the commander of the jagun that had been on the fuchuan, and he explained that the man had been doing that on the way also. I motioned him to be silent and asked them all in Latin, who was their leader. The one with the sword stepped forward and answered that he was. He was shorter than me, but taller than most of the others. He had a rather florid complexion and white hair. His eyes were blue, but paler than mine. He fixed me with a confident look.

“Are you a priest, sir?”
“No. I have been sent to bring you and your officers to meet the Khakhan.”

“I knew it!” he exclaimed, and then turned to tell his crew something causing them all to cheer. “I will bring these three men with me.” He indicated three of the better-dressed individuals.

 

“Very well, follow me. The rest of your men will remain here for now. They will be given something to eat.”

I waited while he told them. They squatted down on the ground and a jagun remained in formation within easy reach of them. He and his three companions presented themselves, and I turned and led them to the governor’s residence. We went on foot led by another jagun on horseback.

“Your horses are smaller than ours,” Colombo said.
“Really?”
“Where are you from?”
“Anahuac. And you?”
“Genova. Where is Anahuac?”
“On the mainland far to the west.”
“The west? But you look like one of us.”
“I suppose I do, but I’m not.”
“Is this place you’re from in Cathay or Cipango?”
“I believe you call the Middle Kingdom, Cathay, but what is Cipango?”
“It is a large island east of Cathay?”
“Perhaps you mean Yapon uls?”
“Well, are you from either of them?”
“No.”
“Isn’t the Khan the ruler of Cathay?”
“The Khakhan is the ruler of the Khakhanate.”
“Well, Cathay is part of it, isn’t it?”
“No. Come along now, we mustn’t keep the Khakhan waiting any longer.”

I could see that some of his bravado had been replaced with confusion. It was clear that he still had no idea where he was. We entered the residence and I had them wait in the reception room while I went to see the Khakhan. Colombo began talking with the others in their language when I left. The Khakhan was waiting in the governor’s office and I was ushered in at once.

“Well?” he asked as I entered.

 

“The leader speaks Latin, although his accent would indicate he doesn’t usually speak it. He thought he was near the Middle Kingdom. But when he asked me if it was part of the Khakhanate, I told him it wasn’t.”

“Indeed. It isn’t. Well, before giving them any more information, we’ll have to see what they know. The captain of the fuchuan that brought them in told me that they raised up a flag on Guanahani as well as a strange wooden monument and held some sort of ceremony. The Lucayo were puzzled by the whole business. They did not display any hostility toward the Lucayo, but tried to trade beads and little bells to them for their few gold ornaments. He gave them red woolen caps, of all things, as gifts. It looks they have nothing of any value to trade at all. But we might as well talk to him. Send this Colombo in first.”

I went back out and told him that the Khakhan wanted to see him alone first. He affected a slight bow, and told the others. One of the others tried to catch my eye and when he did mouthed something. I nodded and led Colombo in to see the Khakhan. Once he was before him, he bowed low and launched into an address.

“Oh Great Khan, I am Cristobal Colon, the Almirante of the Ocean Sea and the Virrey of the king and queen of the Spains, their Most Catholic Majesties, Fernando and Isabella. They have sent me to bring to you the enlightenment of the true religion in which your predecessor expressed much interest.”

“If I tell him you are here to preach a religion, you will be executed immediately.”
“But Marco Polo said the Great Khan wanted instruction in our religion.”
“Perhaps Khan Kubilai did, but the Khakhan does not.”
“What was all that blather about,” the Khakhan interjected impatiently. “And what about Kubilai?”

“I’m sorry, sire,” I quickly said. “He was introducing himself as the ‘Almirante’ of the Ocean Sea and the ‘Virrey’ of the king and queen of Espainia. As to Kubilai, he seems to think you are his successor.”

“Well, I’m not. And he died a very long time ago. How old does he think I am? What do those titles mean?” “I’ll ask.” I returned to Colombo or Colon as he was calling himself now. “What do your titles mean?” “They mean that I will rule all islands that I discover in the name of their Most Catholic Majesties.”

“You think you are going to rule all these islands in the name of your sovereigns? Are you mad? If I tell him that, you’ll be dead.”

 

“Well, perhaps under the circumstances, they are just honorary titles with no real meaning.” He was clearly shaken.

 

“The titles are honors without meaning, sire,” I told the Khakhan.

 

“Ask him what the point was of his ceremony raising a flag and a wooden monument on Guanahani.”

When I repeated this question to him, he got very nervous, and lamely explained that he thought Guanahani didn’t belong to anyone, so he was claiming it for his sovereigns. The monument was a cross, the symbol of their religion. I told the Khakhan that it was merely a ceremony celebrating their safe voyage across the sea.

“Ask him why he brought such poor trade goods with him. Do his people have nothing of value to trade?”

To this question he explained that the simple trinkets were very popular as trade goods in Africa so they thought they might be well received here, and, in fact, the Lucayo seemed to like them. As to what his people trade, it is mostly wool, although there are other things as well, such as vino, oliva oil, hides, soap, salt, and pickled atun (tuna), a kind of fish. I passed this on to the Khakhan and he was unimpressed although he asked what vino and oliva oil were.

I told Colon that we had no need of wool, salt, soap or hides, but the Khakhan wanted to know what vino and oliva oil were. He explained that vino was juice pressed from uvas (grapes) and then fermented into a strong drink. Oliva oil was oil pressed from the fruit of a tree that grew in their land. He had a little of each on the ship he would be glad to give us. I finally asked him what that pungent smell about him was. He looked puzzled for a bit, then said that it was probably ajo (garlic) a sort of spice they used. I translated for the Khakhan.

“I was wondering about that smell. Very well send him to fetch his oil and vino and also some of this spice of his. We might as well try them. Otherwise, we should probably send them packing. What do you think?”

“One of them was trying to signal me. Perhaps he is one of our agents?”
“Now that is interesting. Can you bring him in without making the others suspicious of him?”

“Why don’t we show the men to their rooms in the residence, while Colon goes to get his things. I will take the one in question last so I can talk to him. Should he prove to be one of our agents, I’ll bring him to you.”

“Excellent. And find some sort of housing for his crew.”
“Yes, sire. Follow me now, Colon, your interview is finished.”
“But, I have so many questions.”

“Not now. You will return to your ship and secure some of the vino, oil, and spice and bring them back. You will then be shown to your room. You will see the Khakhan again at dinner. Tell your men that they will be shown to quarters also.”

He again bowed low, and followed me out the door. I told one of the guards to tell the governor that the Khakhan wanted to find some housing for the crew. Then, I told a pair of guards to accompany Colon back to his ship while he got a few things, then bring him back, and show him to his room. I told him to tell his companions that I would lead them to their rooms now, where they would wait until dinner. He translated my words to them and I led them to the small rooms on the north side of the house—opening each door for them and closing it behind them, one at a time. I saved the one who signaled me for last. He was a short man with a small build, a thin face, long nose, light brown eyes, and a fair complexion. Once we were alone, he spoke to me softly in Euskera.

“I am Juan de la Cosa. I own the largest of the ships and was told by my people to join the expedition if it actually occurred.”

“Excellent. The Khakhan would like to see you. But some words of advice, don’t tell him that your companions claimed our islands for Espainia or that they think they will convert him to their religion. It will get you all killed.”

“One wonders at the temerity of landing on an island that is clearly inhabited and claiming it. But the people of Europa do it all the time. The Canarios, the Azores, the Cabo Verdes all the same.”

 

“Perhaps we should send a ship to Espainia and claim it for the Khakhan.”

 

“Well, it would serve them right.”

I brought him in to see the Khakhan. The latter wanted to know as much as possible about the point of the expedition, and Juan assured him that it was to establish trade with the “Indies.” He then asked him what he knew about the army and navy of Espainia. He said he knew very little, but there were Euskera agents in both forces who would send reports to Luis.

“Are you thinking of invading Espainia?” he asked.
“Not at this time, and perhaps not at all. Would it make any difference to you if we did?”
“Not at all. We seem to serve Espainia, but it is only out of convenience. Our loyalty is to our home province.” “Good. Go back among the others and let us know if they are up to anything.”
“Yes, sire.”

Dinner that evening was interesting. Their vino was like a weak strong drink and a bit sour, but their oliva oil, was quite good. Their spice was a bulbous plant with many kernels of the spice sheathed in the bulb. It was quite pungent but had a rather pleasant flavor. They were astonished by our chili and pronounced them far superior to their aji, which is some sort of condiment that comes from the “Indies.” They seemed to eat an inordinate amount of meat or fish. During the course of the meal, Colon peppered me with questions for the Khakhan. The latter was quite forthcoming.

He told Colon that we were not near the Middle Kingdom; there was a whole continent and another wide sea between our present position and them. The people of Middle Kingdom (the Hanjen) had driven the Mongols out over a hundred years ago and were now ruling themselves. He never heard of Marco Polo. The Khakhanate was a huge landmass extending thousands of li north to south and east to west. We were not prepared to show them any maps at this time. We might consider trading for their oliva oil and ajo, but had no need for their trinkets. We did have silk, obviously, since we were all wearing it, and might be willing to trade it, but all that would be up to the merchants. For his part, he would put them in touch with the local merchants. They could leave someone here to conduct any trading, but it could only be here. They would have to return home in a few days, and must only come to this city in the future. Any deviation would be considered a hostile act.

This last bit was a bit disconcerting to them and they talked among themselves for a while about it. And argued over whom to leave. Finally Colon asked if he could leave more than one person and the Khakhan agreed that he could leave three. Then Colon wanted to know if the Khakhan wished to appoint an ambassador to return with him. He gave that some thought, then said perhaps. Finally Colon had the temerity to ask if the Khakhan would consider sending a present to his sovereigns. This clearly took Khakhan aback. I could see him become furious, and then regain his composure.

“Of course, I will send him the same sort of present he sent me.”

Colon turned a deeper shade of red at this response and I advised him not to push his luck. He explained to me that his sovereigns wanted gold and would be very unhappy with the small amount he had gotten from the Lucayo. He was afraid they would take out their disappointment on him. I told him I would see what I could do.

After dinner I sought out Juan and asked him if what Colon said about his needing gold was true. He replied that there was little more prized than gold in Espainia and the king needed a lot of it to finance his recent wars. However, he was sure our silk and spices would fetch a very good price in Europa. The gold would be nice, but hardly necessary. I passed this on to the Khakhan. He was still seething over Colon’s gall, but decided to send a small token to their king, with his ambassador, me.

I was aghast. I asked why he didn’t send someone with rank or title rather than me. He replied that I had the rank of Orlok (Ordu commander), I was related to him, at least in so far as we had a relative in common, I already had a gerege proclaiming me an ambassador, and I spoke some of their languages. He would not send me back on their pathetic little ships, however. He would send me with a fleet of three fully armed fuchuan so that they would have no confusion over the power of the Khakhanate. A fuchuan would return twice a year to bring his instructions and take back any dispatches. I would tour everything and get as much intelligence about Europa as possible. He was sure we could trust our Euskera agents, but it didn’t hurt to make sure. The next morning I told Colon that I had been appointed ambassador by the Khakhan, but would be sailing on our own ships. We could trim our sails to travel as slowly as they did so we could return together. I would have a present for his king, but I didn’t know what it would be yet. He expressed the hope that it would be gold or at least silk. I told him, he was not in a position to make any demands. The man was a little too sure of himself. He would make a fine Hotcangara or perhaps even a Mexica.

The Khakhan did not join them for any more meals, but instead insisted that I did. Colon returned to the question of my ancestry and I told him that my grandfather had been born in the Middle Kingdom, while it was still under Mongol rule. He had become the Khan of Anahuac after we conquered this land. I then had to explain how the Khakhan was over the three Khans that ruled the lands in the south. He then asked if I was a Khan like my grandfather. I explained that my father was my grandfather’s youngest son, and I was my father’s youngest son. While the Khan John was my cousin, he was a fairly distant one. He then asked if I was of the true religion. I asked him what he meant. He said all of Europa was Catholic and subject to the papa in Rome. I said that to the extent I had any religion, it did involve belief in Deus as a single, all-powerful God, but I had no use for priests or papas. He was taken aback by this and expressed the hope that I would see the light once I was in Espainia (he pronounced it Espanya), the fortress of the true religion.

I began to wonder if these people would expel me when they found out I wasn’t one of theirs. Of course, if any harm came to me, the Khakhan would be honor bound to destroy Espainia. I had to be sure and tell them that when I arrived. I sent letters to Beedut and Cimnashote explaining my appointment. I told the former I might be contacting Luis from Espainia, but I wasn’t sure yet and I told the latter, I didn’t know when or if I’d be back, but to look out for John for me.

A few days later, the Khakhan presented me with a new gerege naming me an ambassador in his name and I turned over my old one. I gathered up our visitors and walked down to the dock. They filed aboard their little ships, all of which were leaking since they were not sheathed in copper like ours. I boarded the same fuchuan that brought them here, and joined by the two fuchuan still in the harbor, we all sailed to the northwest around the northwestern peninsula of Aiti; then we turned east along its northern coast, before turning northeast. The Khakhan had sent me with a chest full of silk, a smaller chest full of gold nuggets, and a large amount of dried chili. The captain of my fuchuan, a typically enigmatic Chosin named Kim Sum, treated me with great deference. It made me more than a little uncomfortable. The trip across the sea was interminable. It took over thirty days to reach some little gray islands Colon told us were called the Azores which belonged to Portugal, and thus we had to avoid. Then it took almost another thirty days to reach Espainia. But finally we were all at anchor in the harbor of the town called Palos in Espainia.

55
Espainia, 124–5 K
(Palos & Barcelona, Spain, 1492–3)

I was rowed ashore along with the jagun of Kashik that had been sent as my escorts. The latter caused more than a little consternation in the town, but Colon kept things under control. He then determined that the king and queen were no longer where he had left them, but had moved to another city. I asked, and it seems they do not actually have a capital at this time. Since their current location was also a seaport, he suggested we go there by sea. He sent the sovereigns some sort of long letter, he called a log, and leaving the smaller ships behind, returned to his ship, as we went back to ours, and we left the harbor together. We continued along the southern coast of Espainia and at one point came quite close to the northern coast of Africa. Then we followed the eastern coast all the way to Barcelona, where Ferdinando and Isabella were. It took another twenty-five days.

Barcelona is much larger than Palos, with many large imposing buildings, although it appears to be in a sort of decline. There is a large wall around the city and quite a bit of open space between the city and the wall. The port facility is large but barely accommodating our ship, because of the shallowness of the harbor. The piers are made of stone, an odd choice considering that ships are made of wood. There are also shipbuilding facilities, but these are enclosed in a huge building.
It is all rather confusing, but Colon explained that this city is the capital of the part of Espainia over which Ferdinando rules. It is called Aragon locally, although this particular part of the “Kingdom of Aragon” is called Catalunya. The part over which Isabella rules is called Castilla, in the local tongue (rather than Gaztela, as the Eskualdunac called it). To add to the confusion, the local tongues are not the same in the two parts and are not really dialects of each other either, but distinct languages, Catalan and Casteyano. I also learned that while Ferdinando and Isabella are “joint rulers” of Espainia, they each retain sovereignty over their own kingdoms. Oddly, the two kingdoms even have different laws. In Aragon, the king must consult with a body called “Les Corts” should he wish to raise a levy or go to war, but in Castilla the queen can do as she pleases. Even more strangely, they seem to be comfortable with situation since they have had a son, Juan, who will be king over both areas when he succeeds his parents.

After some thought, I decided to wear my Ordu commander uniform to meet the sovereigns. The Kashik jagun enthusiastically approved my decision. We waited on our ship while Colon hurried ashore to greet his rulers. Eventually he returned to lead me to meet them. I debarked and with my Kashik escort followed Colon through the city streets to the palace. He had only brought a horse for me, so we had to ride slowly enough for my escort to keep up. It was about two and a half li to the palace. There were many houses along the way of varying sizes, but generally of rather massive construction with thick walls. The streets were narrow and dark since the tall buildings blocked out the sun. There were some people in the doorways and windows of the houses watching us pass. Their faces showed no warmth, just uneasiness and fear. The men were dressed loosely, but not very neatly, although there were a few dandies in tightly fitting clothes among them. The women were buried in clothing; I couldn’t imagine how they could breathe in all that. The exception among them was a group of boys who followed along after us mocking the marching gait and the severe expressions of the Kashik. So their children are normal, but then something happens to them as they grow up. I wondered what.

As we rode along, Colon told me that while we were on our way here from Palos, a maniac had attempted to assassinate Ferdinando (he pronounced it Fernando). The man had come to the weekly session held by the king to hear complaints or petitions from his more humble subjects. When he drew near the king, he thrust a dagger into his chest. Fortunately, it was deflected by the gold chain he wears and only wounded him. He added that “Fernando” wanted to forgive the “poor mad fool,” but while he was recovering from his wound, the Royal Council dealt with him. It seems they first tortured him to make sure he was “mad”—he claimed the “holy spirit” told him he was a king and he must never go to “confession.” Then they cut off his hand for striking the king, cut off his feet for taking him to where he could strike, his eyes were gouged out for guiding the strike, and his heart was cut out for conceiving the idea. Then the corpse was given over to the mob and torn apart. I wasn’t sure what lesson I was supposed to draw from this tale, but assumed he was merely relating gossip. I did wonder if the “holy spirit” was the same one that was related to Deus and what he meant by “confession,” but decided not to ask. He cautioned me not to mention the attack since Queen Isabella was still very upset about it because she wasn’t here when it happened. I did not understand that bit either. Did she think her presence would have dissuaded the attack?

The palace, a large stone building more like a fortress, was to the right of a large square, but Colon led me to a reception hall at the far end of the square. As we dismounted, I told Colon that he was right about their horses being larger than ours, but I suspected it also meant they needed much more forage. He nodded absently much too absorbed in the pending interview. He seemed quite nervous about it. The hall proved to be a huge room with a high vaulted ceiling all of masonry. There were windows on one side only. It was an impressive, if cold place. I found myself wondering how safe it was, since we had no buildings this tall inside. The hall was crowded with all sorts of people, but there was an open path in the middle lined with soldiers, each holding a long spear with an axe head below the point, leading to the seated Ferdinando and Isabella. There were several people as well as more soldiers, some wearing swords instead of holding the axe spears, hovering behind them also, but only Ferdinando and Isabella were seated. I noticed to my smug satisfaction that the Kashik and I towered over the crowd in the room with one or two exceptions. Colon led my escort and me to within a few feet of his sovereigns and bowed low before them. I made a shallow bow of courtesy and looked them over while Colon prattled on in the local language. Ferdinando was about my age with a hard look like a warrior. He had black hair, brown eyes, a swarthy complexion, and regular features, except for a rather large nose. He showed a little discomfort from his recent wound when he shifted in his chair. I could tell that he was shorter than me, even though he was seated, and he was looking at me with no expression at all, no doubt the same way I was looking at him. Isabella appeared to be about the same age as Ferdinando, but she had a fair complexion with greenish blue eyes and reddish hair. She was not beautiful, but not exactly plain either. She looked a bit haggard perhaps betraying her upset over the recent attack on her husband as Colon had suggested. She favored me with something of resolute look at first, although it changed to a look of wonder, as she glanced from me to my retinue. Finally Colon addressed me.

“Their Majesties welcome you,” he began, “ and hope your stay with them will be pleasant for you. They warmly accept your appointment as ambassador from the Khanate to their court. They have remarked your appearance and your knowledge of Latin and wonder if you already knew of us.”

“Yes, we did. For reasons of his own, the Khakhan has decided to contact you at this time and sent me as his ambassador. He has graciously sent along some presents for you and hopes you understand that they are expressions of his generosity, not fealty. Be sure you make that very clear, Colon.”

“Yes, of course,” he replied and then spoke to them.

I noticed that some of those behind the rulers seemed to understand Latin also and were listening intently. One of them, a man of medium height with a nose that unflatteringly dominated his face and oddly dressed in a rough brown robe tied with a rope and wearing his hair in an odd style, shaved on the top leaving a fringe of hair in a sort of circle, whispered something to Ferdinando after Colon had finished. Ferdinando said something sharply to Colon and the latter bowed again and moved to one side. The man who had whispered then came around in front of me and spoke to me.

“Excellency, I am Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros. The Almirante Colon has left some things out in his translation so I am taking over. Does your Khakhan worship the one true God?”

“He worships the god, Tengri, like most Mongols.”
“Does he not share the interest of his predecessor in the true religion?”

“I already explained to Colon that the Khakhan is not the successor of Kubilai, and he has no interest in any religion.”

 

“Well, that is a disappointment. But what about you? Surely, you are not also a heathen?”

“I am here to discuss diplomacy not religion. My beliefs are my own and none of your business. I was mentioning the Khakhan’s gifts. They include this box of gold, this box of silk, and these bags of chili. You may tell your king and queen that it would be best if they gather up a similar bundle of gifts to send to the Khakhan.”

“I will tell them your words.” He turned to them.

From his look it was clear he was not happy about being put off from his rude line of questioning and, indeed, he annoyingly returned to it again and again while translating. Each time I brushed him off. Meanwhile the king and queen wanted to know what sorts of gifts they should send and I suggested products of their kingdom of which they were most proud. They sent someone off to see to my quarters in the palace and suggested that I reduce my entourage to perhaps five men. I insisted that it would have to be at least eleven. They agreed. We discussed trade and they appointed someone to expedite it. They asked how large the Khakhanate was and I said it was at least six times the size of Europa. They gasped at that and asked if it was larger than Cathay. I assured them it was much larger than the Middle Kingdom. Fernando (everyone here seemed to also pronounce it this way) wondered if I had brought a map with me. I told him we had maps but were not prepared to share them at this time. Then he wanted to know how it was that we knew about them. I simply replied that we had our sources, but I was not at liberty to divulge them. Finally the audience came to an end and Fernando ordered that my entourage and I be shown to our quarters, adding that he hoped to speak to me more informally very soon. I assured him I was at his disposal, then turned and ordered the jagun commander to detail an arban to me and take the rest of the Kashik back to the ship. He saluted and the arban fell in behind me while the rest turned and marched out of the palace.

Before I left, I asked Jimenez de Cisneros why he was so interested in people’s beliefs. He explained that he was a “fraile” who had dedicated his life to bringing people to the true religion. I asked if that meant he was a priest. He said that it did, indeed. I nodded my head in understanding and turned to go to my room. Just like among most of the tribes we had trouble with, these people were under the thumb of meddling priests. He called after me that he would be anxious to have an “audience” with me at my earliest convenience. I told him I would talk to him in the next few days.

The room I was given was not large, but not small either. It had masonry walls and floors covered with a kind of ceramic tile. The floors also had woolen rugs strategically placed on them and the walls had silk rugs hanging on them. The former were dyed with dark colors, the latter depicted heroic scenes or perhaps mythic characters. The lone window was covered with a kind of glass through which one could see, but not clearly. There was a hearth built into the wall. The furnishings included a rather oversized bed, with heavy colorful quilts thrown on it, in the corner next to the hearth, a small heavy table and chair on the other side of the hearth, a free-standing storage cabinet for clothes, a large trunk for storage, a hand mirror made of bronze, and behind a silk screen, a tub for bathing. There was a small room to one side where one could tend to bodily functions, reminiscent of those at the palace in Tlatelolco.

The arban was given three similar rooms adjacent to mine. I explained the furnishings to them. They were appalled that they were expected to share the same bed, no matter how large it was, and decided to take turns on it while the others slept on the floor. They were all too interested in the mirrors, however, and were constantly posing in front of them. I told them not to mingle with the local people at this time, but to remain together, until I could better tell what sort of people these were. They saluted, but their commander asked about exercise. I promised to look into that for them.

Not long after we were settled in, there was a scratch at my door that proved to be the chamberlain who had shown me to the room. He explained in halting Latin that it was time for the evening meal. I told him that I would join him, but he should have the meal brought to my men. He bowed and led me down the hall. I stopped long enough to tell the men that their meal was coming and gave them some of my private stash of chili in case the meal was tasteless. I was led down a wide staircase to the lower level, and then down an endless hall to a very long room nearly filled by a very long table. At the table, besides Fernando and Isabella, were many of the same people who stood behind them in reception hall as well as Colon. I noticed he looked rather glum as he greeted me.

I was seated between Fernando and Jimenez de Cisneros. The others were introduced to me, but one tires of all these names. The food consisted of inordinate amounts of meat of all kinds, domestic and game, fish and shellfish, either roasted, stewed, fried, boiled, or wrapped in a kind of dough like a nacatamalli (tamale). The meats were served with many strange sauces. Their bread was thick and heavy and their vegetables were soaked in brine. They all seemed to eat more than was decent. I made no effort to keep up with them. Frankly I didn’t much care for any of it.

During the meal, Fernando asked if I had seen anything so far that might be suitable as a gift for the Khakhan. I mentioned that if he had a white horse among his large horses—it would be appropriate. I also suggested the window glass and perhaps a particularly well-made sword. He was very pleased with my suggestions. He asked about my uniform. I told him it was loose cotton pants, leather boots, raw silk shirt, cotton cloak, and a silk rank sash. He asked what my rank was. I explained the military ranks of the Khakhanate to him. He said my rank was the equivalent of army commander in Espainia. I noticed he pronounced it “Espanya” just like Colon, rather than the way Luis pronounced it. I adopted his version immediately. He asked if we used wool. I assured him that we did, but only in cold climate. While it was cool here, I did not find it cold. He said it was colder in the interior.

I asked Fernando if he had chosen an ambassador to send to the Khakhanate. He replied that it would be necessary to have someone learn Mongol first, if I was the only one there who spoke Latin. I agreed that would be best, but all of my relatives had learned Latin as children and most could speak it or at least, read it. He asked if any of my relatives were with the Khakhan, and I had to admit they were not usually. He asked how my grandfather had come to be born in Cathay. I gave him the short version of the family history. He was amazed and said I was not too far from the Black Forest, which was about two hundred leguas from Barcelona, he guessed. It was still mostly part of the Holy Roman Empire. As to Innsbruck, it was the very city where the current emperor, Federico III, was born. I would have to visit there he suggested. All in good time, I assured him. He asked if I had been a sword maker at one time. I explained that my grandfather’s brother’s family had all the sword makers. He remarked that it was interesting how the family of artisans could become kings. I did not comment.

As was apparently typical, no real business was pursued at meals, only banalities and such were discussed. I suppose that was best for digestion. Colon looked so forlorn I suggested him as ambassador. That provoked a smile from Fernando and a smirk from most of those in earshot. Isabella looked at him sympathetically, however, and asked if he had been well received by the Khakhan. I replied that since I had been there to translate, all had gone well. She wanted to know what I meant. I explained that he had had the temerity to claim some of the Khakhanate for ‘Espanya’ and had suggested he was there to preach religion. I translated these things in a much less offensive manner.

“Bringing the enlightenment of the true religion is offensive?” Isabella was clearly shocked.

“In the Khakhanate, we have had nothing but trouble from priests. They have inspired the most resistance to us in the name of serving their gods’ will. Therefore, they are not welcome and barely tolerated as long as they bother no one else.”

“But surely the priests you talk about were heathen idolaters, not the priests of the true religion.” Her face was turning an alarming shade of red and her eyes were flashing with indignation.

 

“All priests claim to preach the true religion and most consider all other religions false. Is it not so with you and the Ottomans?” I wasn’t sure what they called the Musulmen in the local language.

“Let me answer for Her Majesty,” Cisneros said to me, after mollifying her in her own tongue. “The Ottomans, like our Moros, worship the same God that we do. They call him Allah in their Arabic tongue, but he is the same God. We differ in that they believe that Mohammed was the last in a long line of prophets, which includes our Jesus. They believe that we stopped along the line of truth, but they did not. The truth is that they, as the Apostle Paul foretold, ‘having itching ears, have turned aside from the truth to fables, heaping up to themselves teachers according to their own lusts.’ ”

While he translated this bit to them, I watched their expressions. Fernando looked bored, but Isabella beamed triumphantly and expressed what must have been lengthy gratitude to Cisneros for putting me in my place. I looked at Colon and he gave me a wan smile, so perhaps I did do him some good. Finally, Fernando interjected that this was no place for such a discussion and there would be plenty of time to discuss such things in a more appropriate venue. I told him that when he decided on his ambassador, I would be happy to teach him Mongol as long as he would teach me their local language. He agreed and rose from the table, the signal for us all to do likewise. Once he and Isabella left, the rest of us were free to go. To my relief, Cisneros followed after them, but Colon fell in with me in the hall.

“Thank you for telling the queen I tried to teach the true religion; it has returned me to her favor, at least.” “Why did you change what I was saying at the audience?”
“Why did you change what I was saying to the Khakhan?”
“To save your life. Besides, there was no one around to gainsay me.”

“I have often found it necessary to dissemble when talking to royalty. It is prudent to tell them what they want to hear.”

 

“Perhaps, but if he thought the Khakhanate had pledged him fealty, he would have been in for a very unpleasant surprise had he decided to visit.”

“I would have told him later in private. It was also kind of you to suggest me as ambassador.” “It made sense to me. It is a long journey and I could easily prepare you for what you would encounter. You seem to have sufficient courage and self-confidence for the post. I think you would be a good choice for the post.”

“It is a post for nobles or clergy, not someone like me.”

 

“Whoever he sends would not be harmed, but might be sent back and all relations cut off, so he must pick carefully.”

“Be sure and tell him that when you meet with him.”
“I will. Good fortune to you, Colon.”
“Thank you. And to you, Excellency.”

The next several days consisted of meeting with different groups of royal hangers-on. Fernando was always there and sometimes Isabella was also. Cisneros was usually there, although occasionally a different “fraile” served as interpreter. Once in a while, only Fernando needed the interpreter. There is more than one kind of fraile. The various kinds dress a little differently: some wear the rough brown robe like Cisneros; others wear a white robe with a black cloth over their shoulders hanging down in front and back; others wear black or a different shade of brown. They all wear the distinct haircut. It seems they are priests that meddle in everyday affairs. Others like them remain in a large building called a monastery and work and pray there all the time. I think I prefer them.

By the end of these meetings, Fernando had decided on a large number of presents for the Khakhan and decided to send them with Colon as his representative, until a proper ambassador was ready. I immediately sat down with Colon to give him a short course in essential Mongol while he gave me a rudimentary course in Casteyano. He wasn’t much of a linguist, but much like Luis had, he wrote everything down in Latin script. I also taught him some Mongol etiquette including what sort of subjects and behaviors must be avoided. After a few more days, I felt he was as ready as I could make him and I rode down to the ship with him. I introduced him to the Kashik commander and urged the latter to speak with him during the trip to help him become more fluent in Mongol. He agreed. I watched the ship depart with the tide that evening and returned to the palace.

Once Colon had gone, Cisneros took over my instruction in Castellano (it seems it is spelled this way, even though it is pronounced Casteyano). I asked him if I should learn Catalan also, but he told me that it was not the language of the court. I picked the language up fairly quickly since it was not too far removed from Latin. I was much helped by two books he loaned me. A teacher at the University of Salamanca, named Antonio de Nebrija, wrote them. One was a Latin-Castellano dictionary and the other was a Castellano grammar. With the help of these, I was soon freed of my tedious teacher who continually turned the discussion toward his religious beliefs. I steadfastly refused to be drawn into the subject. I did ask him why Barcelona seemed to be in decline. He claimed he didn’t know what I was talking about.

While I was still being instructed by Cisneros, one of the Kashik brought me a letter he said a man had given him for me. He said the man approached him while they were exercising in the open space I had secured for them outside the city, but within the walls. He spoke enough Mongol to indicate the note was for me, but not enough to answer any questions. He seemed very nervous and was constantly looking around to see if anyone could see him. They assumed he was one of our agents and made every pretense of ignoring him. The letter proved to be from Luis. He had written it in Mongol in case it had fallen into the wrong hands. He greeted me and congratulated me on my appointment. He had heard from Juan de la Cosa who had been on the ship with Colon. He unnecessarily cautioned me to trust no one and never discuss religion. He promised to have his report forwarded to me by the Khakhan as well as any further correspondence from him. He urged me to do the same, as any contact between us would put his people in great jeopardy. It made sense to me so I destroyed the letter.

Once I gained a facility with Castellano, Fernando would speak to me alone. We got along rather well—I suppose we had a mutual respect for each other. He told me that he had expended much time and effort in making marriage alliances with the other powers of Europa since God had blessed him with four daughters and a son. The eldest, Isabel, a daughter, had married the crown prince of Portugal, Alfonso three years ago. Unfortunately he died in a hunting accident after only a few months of marriage. The brother of Alfonso, Manuel, now wants to marry Isabel, but she is in deep mourning for Alfonso and has vowed not to marry again. He hopes to change her mind. He has betrothed his son, Juan, to Margarita, the daughter of Maximiliano, who has just succeeded his father as the Holy Roman Emperor. He also betrothed his second daughter, Juana, to Felipe (Philip), Maximiliano’s son. Finally his youngest daughter Catherina was betrothed to Arturo (Arthur), the eldest son of Enrique the Seventh of Inglaterra (he did not pronounce it Ingalaterra). His third daughter, Maria, was not yet betrothed. He asked if the Khakhan had any sons or grandsons that were about her age, ten.

I was a little taken aback by this question, but assumed it might only be rhetorical. Still, I answered that the Khakhan had two sons, Tului who was ten and Berke who was eight. I added that I was in no position to negotiate their betrothals, but as one father to another, I reminded him that his daughter would find the life of a Mongol princess very alien and difficult. Surely he could find her a good match closer to home. He appreciated my point, but said it was the duty of a princess to marry whomever her parents chose for her. I admitted it was the same among the families of the Khans.

He then asked if I wished for some female companionship. I told him I was married and not interested in other women. He told me that he respected that, but he had not been able to so limit himself. He asked if my wife would be joining me soon. I replied that she was always with me, but only in spirit since she had died some years ago. He could not understand that I had not remarried and I assured him I did not expect him to do so, but my wife had been and would always be the only woman for me. She was as close to me now as she had been in life. He ended this conversation by saying he would have to keep me away from Isabel or he would never be able to get her to marry again.

Late in the spring, Fernando and Isabella decided to leave Barcelona for the interior. The travel reminded me of the journey from Tamalameque to Yumabalikh with Khan Henry and Theodore. The huge procession left the city and moved slowly along the roads. If nightfall found us near a city, town, or monastery we would spend the night there. If we were out in the open, a huge tent city would be set up for the night. While on this jaunt, some of the other ambassadors made my acquaintance. The one from the “papa” was the most insistent on bothering me. He kept urging me to write to the Khakhan and convince him to join Europa in a crusade against the Ottomans to free the Holy Land. I kept telling him that such a war was hardly in his interest and logistically imprudent. Besides it appeared very unlikely to me that he could get Europa to undertake such a crusade for us to join. Cisneros would also bother me along the way. He finally gave me a copy of a Latin version of the “Biblia” a sacred book of his religion, but he urged me to come to him with any questions since sometimes people drew the wrong conclusions from the book.

To my surprise, the book had some of the stories my grandfather had told me when I was a boy. It was also rather repetitive, and had a quite a few difficult names, but I enjoyed reading it. Unfortunately, Cisneros kept bothering me asking if I understood it. I kept assuring him I understood it perfectly. Actually, I didn’t, but I certainly did not want to hear any of his interpretations. Isabella congratulated me on the “privilege” of reading the book and recommended a number of commentaries she felt I would find most helpful. I remained polite, but suggested I should first finish the book. It was organized into short “chapters” so by reading only one or two a day, I was able to stretch out the reading for a long time.

Meanwhile, I did pick up some information from the more talkative members of the court. My best source was Luis de Santangel, the royal treasurer. He was a great supporter of Colon and appreciated my helping him. He told me that there had indeed been a decline in Barcelona over the last ten years or so. It seems that there had been a large Judio (Jewish) colony in the city. These were people who followed the religion of the first part of the “Biblia” on which both the Christian and Moro religions were based. Anyway, these people had long generally thrived and controlled much of the trade that came into the city. Because of increasing discrimination culminating in expulsion last year, they had mostly left. He explained that the fearfulness I had noticed in the people was because of something called the “Inquisicion” which sought to root out any heresy or backsliding among Judios or Moros who had converted to Christianity. These were called “Conversos” or Converts, but also “Marranos” and “Moriscos.” These latter names were derogatory, especially the first, which meant “pigs” and referred to the fact that eating the meat of that animal was forbidden to observant Judios. As it happened, Conversos were being denounced all over the kingdom for little or no cause and losing all their possessions or even their lives unless they fled. He added that all of his family members were Conversos, but Fernando had so far protected him. He had also protected the other Conversos at the Royal Court.

He also mentioned that the current papa, Alexandro the Sixth, was related to the Duque of Gandia in Valencia, part of Aragon. He had been the papal legato or ambassador to the Royal Court for many years. It was felt that he would be very favorably disposed to Espanyan interests. I told him that seemed odd since he was supposed to be the religious leader of all Europa. He replied that while that was true, history had shown the papa leaning to one or the other of the kings. He expected there would be trouble soon, however, because Carlos the Eighth of Francia (that is how he pronounced it) had just made peace with Maximiliano, Enrique the Seventh and Fernando and Isabella. It could only mean he has designs on Italia and that would bring him into conflict with the interests of the papa.

Apparently Carlos had been fighting Maximiliano over the provinces of what had been Burgundia (his name for Ardangori). He had lost to him in battle and settled on the smaller part of Burgundia. He had earlier paid Enrique the Seventh to remove himself from intrigues in Francia. Finally, he had agreed to return two small provinces in northern Aragon in exchange for the neutrality of Espanya in any action he might take in Italia. Fernando had given himself an out if the papa was threatened.

56
The Espanyan Court and Gonzalo’s Campaign 125–6 K
(Spain and Southern Italy, 1494–5)

In the fall I received dispatches from the Khakhan. Fernando himself handed them to me. He had received a note from Colon. The Khakhan wrote that he was still in Aiti, but was planning to return to Khanbalikh soon and take Colon with him. I wondered what Colon would think of the long trip when they went. He added that there was no point in passing on Luis’ dispatch since I probably already knew what was going on in Europa. He still wanted me to report all to him anyway in case either of us missed anything. He did send a letter from Luis in Euskera but using the Uighur script, adding that he presumed there was nothing in it he needed to know. Actually, when I finally deciphered the letter, it proved to be just a repetition of the note he had gotten to me earlier, with a bits of personal information—he had another child, a girl, and he was teaching his son Mongol. He also added that he thought it best if I avoided visiting the Eskualdunac lands and he would only contact me through the Khakhan.

I prudently sent the Khakhan a word-for-word translation of Luis’ note and also brought him up to date on all the court gossip including the rumor of impending war in Italia. I suggested that I would try to go along as an observer if Espanya should happen to get involved in the war so I could report on their tactics. I really expected that he ultimately planned to invade Europa, but I wasn’t absolutely sure. I also reported on the unrest caused by the Inquisicion, but added that it was quite popular among those who were not threatened by it. Apparently, the authorities periodically stage an “auto da fe” in which those found to be heretics are publicly disciplined. I had not witnessed one, but I understand most of the accused are reconciled, admit their sins, and are variously punished with fines, imprisonment, wearing distinctive clothing, and such. The ultimate punishment is the rather barbaric burning alive reserved for the few unrepentant.

With my report to the Khakhan, I sent back all but one of my escort Kashik. They had taken turns getting some sort of respiratory ailment and two of them almost died from it. We built a sweat lodge and were able to bring them around, but I felt it was not healthy for them here. I caught the ailment also, but not as seriously as the others. I kept the only one who was as little affected as I was, Conthagah, a Hotcangara. My hosts were quite pleased with my decision, incorrectly assuming it meant that I trusted them now. Conthagah missed his companions, but fully understood my decision, and since he still was unmarried, he had no problem remaining with me. We both continued to frequently use the sweat lodge, and rebuilt it whenever we moved. Our hosts found it curious, but some of them had used hot springs for bathing and suggested our practice was similar. I assured them I had also used hot springs, but this was far more beneficial to health. A few of the court tried it, but only one seemed to enjoy it. This was Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba.
I had met Gonzalo and Rodrigo de Ponce, Marquis de Cadiz, two of Fernando and Isabella’s military leaders late that summer when they both happened to visit the court. Both had been much involved in the defeat of the Moros. Rodrigo was very tall with fiery red hair. I found him a bit too full of himself, always bragging about his military prowess. If half of what he said was true, he was quite the fearless warrior. Gonzalo, on the other hand, was pleasant, intelligent, and an excellent conversationalist. At the same time, he was very strong, remarkably agile, and very skilled with all sorts of their weapons. On top of that, he was an excellent horseman and something of a dandy. He was vaguely related to Fernando, but was Isabella’s favorite. He was about eight years younger than I. He, too, had lost a wife in childbirth almost twenty years ago, but he had remarried about five years ago and had a young daughter.

We got along famously and he even invited me to visit his home, although I had to decline until the wanderings of the court brought us near it. In any case, he told me how their army is organized. It is rather confusing. There is artillery, although he said they only had about 150 pieces. There is a group called espingarderos who carry a handheld cannon more primitive than ours. There is a light cavalry called jinetes, much like our forces, but armed with spears rather than bows. Then there is infantry, the bulk of their forces. Where it gets confusing is that the soldiers can be royal troops, directly subject to the king; noble troops, subject to one of the nobles; city troops, raised in the larger cities; mercenaries hired by a group called Santa Hermandad; members of the military orders; and finally a group called homicianes, men convicted of capital crimes who could fight instead of being executed.

The Santa Hermandad or Holy Brotherhood is an interesting group. They were founded by Isabella’s brother, Enrique the Fourth, in 1476. They are armed bands of citizens who suppress crime and make the roads safe from criminals by dispensing summary justice to thieves, arsonists, burglars, rapists, and traitors. I suggested that such a group was likely to become abusive, but Gonzalo assured me that they had really made a difference. He added that they also contributed heavily to the war against the Moros by turning most of the taxes they collected over to the crown. It seems they collect taxes for their expenses from the towns whose citizens they protect.

The military orders are warrior frailes who separate themselves from the world to varying degrees, but come out to fight for “holy causes” like ridding Espanya of Moros. There are five of these orders. Santiago is the leading order in Castilla; Fernando now administers it. San Juan Hospital is the leading order in Aragon; they own much of the land along the lower part of the Ebro River. Calatrava is an order that owns the mines of Almaden and has agreed to make Fernando their master when the current one dies. Alcantara and Montesa are the other two orders. All but the last were founded in the 1100s to fight the Moros. I suggested there wasn’t much point to them anymore, but Gonzalo reminded me that there were still many Moros in Africa who might try to invade.

Late in the winter, Gonzalo took me to see some of their artillery. It comes in quite a variety of shapes and sizes. They include “quartaos,” large bore, short-barreled cannon; “lonbardas,” long guns that fired stone shot; “robadoquines,” small guns mounted in banks on carts; “culebrinas,” huge cannon used in sieges; and others called “pasabolantes” and “cerbotinas.” Most of these were made of bronze rather than iron. I asked him why and he said that the bronze was lighter and thus more easily transportable. He added that it was much more expensive and did not last long, so there was much interest in improving the iron cannon. I could see that their iron cannon were much more primitive than ours, but I didn’t tell him. I asked him why there was such a variety of cannon and he said that almost all were procured from other countries, especially Francia and the empire. It was only recently that they had begun producing them in Espanya. Of course, he added the several types had different functions as well. The larger ones were used to reduce city walls and the smaller ones for antipersonnel purposes. I did not comment.

Once I was alone, I wrote up a complete description of their artillery and explanation their army “organization” for the Khakhan. I added that while we could easily overrun Espanya, we might have trouble holding it since it was so unhealthy. Not only was there the respiratory ailment, but there was also a plague they called the Black Death. It would move around the country almost randomly striking one or more city at a time, and then it would end. Fortunately, the court always stayed far away from any so afflicted city. It was a most unpleasant disease and I wrote a description of its progression suggesting that perhaps one of our Chosin healers would recognize it from the old land and know how to treat it.
Early in the spring, Fernando summoned me again to give me a dispatch from the Khakhan. He told me that Colon was now in Khanbalikh and had written that the Khakhan lived in a magnificent tent, not a palace. He wondered why. I explained that Khanbalikh means “the Khan’s city” and it was situated on a great prairie and it periodically is moved. Besides, I added, it was an old tradition dating back to Chingis that the Khakhan lived in a great “tent.” After all, the Mongols were nomadic people following their herds over the grasslands. I think he was even more puzzled by this, so I added that the three khans all had large palaces, more spread out than his, but not as tall, and without walls, in fixed capital cities. He asked me why there were no separate walls to protect the palaces. I explained that the outer walls of the palaces were not unlike fortifications, although there were windows on the upper level. He next wondered if there were never any revolts or civil wars among the Mongols. I said that they had occurred but were very rare and swiftly put down. He was impressed. He also told me that from Colon’s letter he could see that I had not been exaggerating about the size of the Khakhanate. It took them over two months to reach the capital from the coast. Colon estimated the distance to be at least 440 leguas. I mentioned that dispatch riders would cover the distance in about fourteen days. He marveled and again asked me to press the Khakhan to consider a marriage alliance. I told him I would mention it to him.

I looked over my dispatch from the Khakhan. He thanked me for conscientiously translating my missive from Luis, but assured me that I should only tell him anything I thought he should know. He approved of my plans to observe any warfare in Europa and wanted me to report all I could find out about the various military forces. I sent him my notes on the Espanya army, artillery, and the Black Death and promised to look into their navy and the armies of other nations. I also told him about Fernando’s interest in betrothing his youngest daughter to one of his sons. I added that he had made quite a life’s work out of marrying his children strategically and so was quite serious about it. I also mentioned my misgivings about the match considering how alien our two cultures were, but I did say the child in question was pretty and seemed to have a pleasant disposition.

Not long afterward Gonzalo returned to court and I asked him about the armies of the other countries in Europa. He told me that he had only fought the Moros and the Portugueses. Most of the battles with the Moros had been sieges with artillery bombardment and hand-to-hand combat. There had been some raids and even some pitched battles of cavalry and infantry versus cavalry and infantry. Against the Portugueses he led a company of jinetes under his older brother. Their army was similar to that of Espanya. As to other countries, Inglaterra was the only one that used the longbow. The others used pike men and the crossbow. Most also had artillery and espingarderos and all had cavalry either heavy or light or both.

I asked about first three groups. He explained that longbow archers carried a longbow with which they were able to send arrows quite far that could often penetrate armor. From his description these seemed to be selfbows made of elm or yew not recurved composite bows like ours. Crossbowmen used a weapon reminiscent of one used by the Hanjen long ago. It had originally been made of wood or composite, but now was made of iron. It fired a usually metal bolt, which could generally penetrate armor. Pike men carried a “pike,” a very tall spear, which they could use to good effect in defensive formations against cavalry. He added that the Suizos could use them in offensive actions also, but most others lost effectiveness once they were out of formation. I felt I really needed to see them in action before I could gauge their effectiveness.

Then I asked him about navies. He explained that they had ships, but no formal navy. The ships were used to transport army elements, which would sometimes fight at sea. I agreed that was the custom, but asked if the crews for the ships were not formally trained for battle. He said that they could defend themselves if boarded, but usually just manned the ship. He then told me that much of the crew on a galera (galley) consisted of galeotes or slaves. It seems that galeras were ships propelled by banks of large oars pulled by men chained to their benches. These men were mostly prisoners of war, usually Moros, condemned men, or those sentenced directly by the courts to be galeotes. I asked to see some of the ships. He said he would find out when any of them would be in a nearby port. I didn’t ask, but I suspected if the galera happened to be sunk, those chained to their benches would be left to their fate.

Late in the summer, Gonzalo came to tell me that there were two of the galeras in the port of Almeria, not far from where the court was at the moment. We rode to the port together. It had been the principal port of Granada, the last Moro kingdom, and the architecture was quite different from that of Barcelona or Palos. We arrived late and spent the night with some local official who was a friend of Gonzalo’s. Gonzalo seemed to have a lot of friends. The next morning we went down to the port to see the ships.

One of the ships was what Gonzalo called a galeazza; the other was a galleotta. The former had a single row of twenty-five huge oars on each side with five men to an oar. The oars were too large to handle directly, so there was a ladderlike device attached to each oar, which the men could maneuver. The ship had fore and aft raised areas, which were armed with cannon. There was also a ten-foot long metal ram on the front. The ship was about 160 feet long and perhaps 29 feet wide, and had two masts with large triangular sails. The latter ship had two rows of five smaller, one-man oars on each side and was about sixty feet long and perhaps ten feet wide. It also had two masts and triangular sails, but only mounted a single cannon.

Both ships were shallow with benches and oars along the sides and a narrow catwalk in the center. All the rowers were naked and chained by their ankle to remain at their benches night and day. The stench coming from them was overwhelming. The free men among them were not chained on the open sea, only while in port. They could be distinguished by normal hair and even mustaches. The slaves had shaved heads and the convicts had tufts of hair. I had to wonder what sort of morale these men had.

They also used regular sailing ships a little larger than those of Colon. These were crewed by professionals, at least among the officers. The crews could be from any country with anywhere from very much or no experience at sea. I had to wonder about the reliability of this lot. A few of these ships were also in port and they were indeed either a little larger or smaller than Colon’s largest ship. I asked Gonzalo if the other countries in Europa had similar ships and crewing practices and he assured me they did. It appeared to me that the people of Europa did not take their navies seriously. He asked me if it was different in the Khakhanate. I told him that it was. Our ships were larger and crewed by professionals. We did not have any galeras. He said that the advantage of galeras was that not only did they have a shallow draft, but they were also not so dependent on the wind. I replied that I was no sailor and was in no position to judge the relative merits of ships. However, I added, if I was to sail anywhere during my stay, I would not want to be on a galera; the smell would kill me before we got out of the harbor. He found that very amusing and told me that passengers on a galera made generous use of strong perfumes or stuffed their noses with spices to overcome the odor. The thought of two competing strong odors made me ill and I asked to return to court.

When we returned to court, it was all abuzz about the invasion of Italia by the king of Francia, Carlos the Eighth. Apparently, in midsummer, he sent his cousin, the duke of Orleans along the coast toward Genova while he crossed the tall mountains called the Alpinas (Alps) into Italia. By the time he reached Asti, an Italiano city belonging to his cousin, his cousin had already defeated a Napoles force at Rapallo east of Genova. He then entered and was passing through the state of Milano. The ruler of Milano, Ludovico Sforza, called Il Moro because of his dark complexion, had urged Carlos to make his move on the Kingdom of Napoles, asserting some claim Carlos had to that throne. Of course the current king of Napoles, Alfonso the Second, happened to be related to Fernando, and the latter had some interest in perhaps inheriting the kingdom himself. On the other hand, he had signed the treaty last year promising not to interfere unless the papa felt threatened.

Meanwhile the dispatches arrived from the Khakhan. Fernando handed them to me in person and asked if there was anything in them about his suggestion of a marriage alliance. I had to open them up in his presence to find out. The Khakhan took it up first, as it happened. He told me to tell Fernando that he would consider his offer carefully before replying to it. I passed this on and he was clearly disappointed. He asked me if that was a negative response, but I assured him it was not. Of course, the Khakhan told me that such an offer was like a request from an ant to marry a bear. He was reasonably sure he could do better for both of his sons. He thanked me for the information on the army and arms of Espanya, and the warning about the unhealthiness of Europa. He had asked the Chosin healers about the plague and they affirmed that they were familiar with it. It had ravaged the old land many times, most recently during the ousting of the Yuan Dynasty from the Middle Kingdom. They claimed it killed about half the population. They said that it was usually preceded by a huge die off of rats and seemed to come in more than one form. The one I had described was the milder form, which would only kill about a quarter or a third of its victims. The other form would kill all its victims. The only treatment was strict quarantine for the homes of the afflicted, or the whole town if it was widespread. He urged me to avoid even approaching the plague towns. I was touched by his concern. He added that they were also familiar with the respiratory ailment and had marveled that it was so rare in the Khakhanate. He sent along some herbs and instructions for using them should we succumb again.

I sent him my notes on the armies and navies of Europa and described the ships and the armaments used according to Gonzalo. I also brought him up to date with the events in Italia. I thanked him for the herbs, the information on the plague, and his concern for my well-being. Finally, I told him that I had not discouraged Fernando’s marriage alliance hopes as he had instructed.

Luis’ letter was mostly personal news. He had taken his son with him to the Khakhanate this year and the boy was very impressed and had learned Mongol well enough to understand all that was said. He added that the governor had been most kind to him. He went on to say that his daughter was thriving, and his wife was again with child. He also wrote that so far as he knew, no one in Europa knew about our arrangement with his people.

Actually, I had been recently approached by the ambassador of Inglaterra or England as he called it. He told me that his king was interested in opening relations with the Khakhanate. He added that their merchants had seen Basque (their name for Eskualdunac) fishing ships headed west of Iceland and wondered if we had encountered any of them. I told him I had never heard of “Basques” or Iceland. He explained that Basques lived in the northern part of Castilla and were called Vascos in Castellano. Iceland was an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, the name they use for the Eastern Sea, which had been settled by Norsemen many centuries ago. I feigned ignorance, but told him I would advise the Khakhan of his interest and let him know. I urged him not to send any merchant ships to the Khakhanate unbidden. He assured me they would not. I included a report on this request as well as a quick summary of their recent history so the Khakhan would realize that this was not a particularly powerful country. Actually, there were no powerful countries in Europa at this time.

I wrote Luis a warning about the merchants of England and suggested they continue to stay away from Iceland on their journey across the sea. I also congratulated him on his bright son and new child. I told him the latest court news and asked him if his agents already knew all of this. I suspected they did.

I had not received any correspondence from my relatives, but it was actually not necessary. John kept in touch with them and when I contacted him in the dream world, he would bring me up to date. Three of my cousins on my mother’s side passed away while I have been here, so I’m very glad I went around to see them all when John was a baby. They were fine people.

By late fall, Carlos the Eighth had moved into the territory controlled by the city of Florencia. The ruler of the city, Piero de Medici, did nothing to stop the advance, but rather tried to negotiate and surrendered city after city. Finally he was overthrown by a revolution inspired by a fraile named Girolamo Savonarola. The new city leaders then negotiated a settlement with Carlos, allowing him to occupy their fortresses for two years, naming him their “Protector” and giving him a large sum of gold. Next he marched on Roma.

By early winter he had entered Roma. The papa had allied himself to Napoles and their troops had forced the Frances to march along the coast south from Florencia. He had then carried on a flurry of activity seeking help from even the Ottomans. The sultan, Bajazet the Second, agreed to help if the papa would put to death his brother, Djem, who was in exile in Roma and whom he considered to be a threat to his rule. Instead, the papa negotiated with Carlos and agreed to give Djem to him as well as some of his towns until the war with Napoles was over. He also had to turn over his son, Cesar Borja, as a hostage. The appeal by the papa to the Ottoman sultan caused many of his enemies to demand that a council be called to depose him for betraying Christianity. I must admit, I found all this rather curious. I would have questioned the annoying Cisneros about it, but he had been sent by Isabella to reform his order of frailes, the Franciscanos, and was no longer at court.

I asked my friend Gonzalo about it, and he just shrugged and told me that many people in the Church hierarchy were more interested in politics than in the Church. I told him we had always found that to be the case with priests and that was why we suppressed them. He said he could see how that could happen, but assured me that there were many very good priests only interested in the spiritual well-being of their people. He pointed out Cisneros as being one of them. I suggested that he was rather narrow-minded, but he countered that the man was merely dedicated to his mission. I did not pursue the subject.
After about a month in Roma, Carlos moved on Napoles. The king of Napoles, Alfonso the Second, resigned his crown in favor of his son Ferrante the Second and fled in a panic to Sicilia (Sicily)—a large island off the southwest tip of the Italiano peninsula that was part of the Kingdom of Napoles. By midwinter Carlos had taken the city of Napoles and almost the entire kingdom. He settled in Napoles to enjoy his rather painless victory. By late winter a coalition had formed against Carlos. It was composed of the Italiano cities of Venetia and Milan and the papa as well as the Holy Roman Emperor and Fernando. They agreed to defend the Christian states from the Ottomans, restore the papa’s territory, and guarantee the borders of all the members of the coalition. Coincidentally, they agreed to rid Italia of Carlos.

While Carlos was absorbing the new situation, Fernando called me in to give me the latest dispatches from the Khakhan and to ask me if I wished to accompany my friend Gonzalo who was leading an army against the Frances in Napoles. I told him I very much wished to do so and he gave me permission. He also told me that Colon was now pressing his desire for a marriage alliance, although he too had written that it would be a difficult adjustment for his daughter. He asked if the Khakhan had written anything to me on the subject. Quickly reading through the letter, I found nothing, so I told him that the Khakhan was still considering it, and would likely have an answer by the next dispatch. He thanked me and wished me an enjoyable campaign.

I quickly replied to the Khakhan’s letter explaining the situation in Italia and telling him I would be going on the upcoming campaign. He had thanked me for my information and urged me to put off the ambassador of England for the present, explaining that we did not want an indiscriminate number of ships plying our shores and would be very hostile to any that came unbidden. I passed this on to the ambassador, who was disappointed, but insisted that he understood. With my dispatches finished and sent off, I left the court, which was currently in the city of Madrid, in the middle of the country, and hurried to catch up with Gonzalo who was in Cartagena, a large port on the southeast coast. He had been busy recruiting and gathering supplies for the expedition. His “army” consisted of only about three hundred jinetes and two thousand infantry. It seemed more like a raiding party. As it happened, however, the rest of his army had already departed. Still the whole of it was much less than a tumen.

A fleet of thirty ships, commanded by Galceran de Requesens, met us at Cartagena. They were all galeras of varying sizes. I held off boarding until the last minute, but the smell was nearly as bad from the pier. To make matters worse, the winds were unfavorable, so we had to be rowed most of the way. Fortunately, we made two stops for supplies along the way, first at Palma on the island of Mayorca, and then at Cerdenya on the island of Sardinia. I can confirm again, that the nose does adjust when so cruelly assailed. It actually got to where I hardly noticed it.

Gonzalo and I had a lot of time to talk to each other while at sea. He asked about my family and origins and wondered if I wanted to visit the empire and my ancestral roots. I replied that perhaps after the campaign I might. I asked about his plans and he replied that he only wanted to serve his sovereigns to the best of his ability. I think he really meant that. We talked about the upcoming campaign and he seemed generally confident, although he was hoping Ferrante would stay in Sicilia and let him conduct the campaign. He had heard that Ferrante was rather impetuous and fancied himself a military leader of some merit. I told him that we often had princes along on campaign, but they usually deferred to the man appointed to lead the campaign, or they would have to answer to their father’s wrath if things went wrong. He pointed out that Ferrante was now the king of Napoles, so he would be in command if he so chose. I could see he had a problem.

We finally arrived at the port of Mesina in Sicilia, which was still in the control of the king of Napoles. We only stayed there two days and then crossed the straight to the mainland port of Reggio, which King Ferrante had just taken with the help of the first group of Gonzalo’s forces.

While we were at sea, Carlos the Eighth had crowned himself king of Napoles and a week later abandoned his new kingdom and marched north with about half of his forces. He had placed his cousin, Gilberto of Borbon, the duke of Montpensier in charge of Napoles. With him were about ten thousand men and all the Frances artillery. There were also some units spread around the kingdom. The forces nearest us, however, were under the command of a mercenary from Escotia named Everaldo Stuart, Lord of Aubigny.
Once we connected with Ferrante, it was obvious that his local troops were poorly trained and disciplined. They were disorganized and there was no apparent cohesion among units. To add to Gonzalo’s difficulties, they were far better paid than his own grizzled veterans. He worked tirelessly to keep his forces in line and even used his own funds to supplement their pay. It also appeared that Ferrante had every intention of commanding the combined forces, although he would be open to Gonzalo’s suggestions.

The immediate task at hand was to clear the Frances garrisons out of the small villages and ports around Reggio. This proved fairly easy since they had already managed to alienate their reluctant hosts. Since he was outnumbered, Gonzalo used ambush, night attacks on the enemy camp, and surprise attacks to demoralize the Frances and force them to hide in their fortresses. Then he turned his artillery against them causing them to flee or surrender. Next he garrisoned each sizable town with his own troops, not the Napoles. The easy victories caused many of the locals to swell the ranks of Ferrante’s army. Of course, these volunteers were just slightly better than worthless.

By the time we encountered the forces Aubigny had consolidated near the town of Seminara, which Gonzalo had taken. Ferrante was growing impatient with Gonzalo’s tactics. Gonzalo wanted to fully reconnoiter the enemy and perhaps probe them a bit to see what sort of troops they were, and then meet them at a field of his choosing. Ferrante and a few of Gonzalo’s captains were all for attacking right away. Unfortunately, Ferrante had the last word and reminded Gonzalo of that fact. The Frances had mercenaries from Suiza as well as from the empire, hired before the alliance, and Gonzalo had never faced them before. They were mostly pike men. Frankly, massed artillery would make short work of them, but I was here to observe, not advise. In all the Frances had about four thousand infantry and six hundred lancers. It seems we were about to see our first battle among these people.

57
Gonzalo’s Campaign 127–9 K
(Italy, 1495–7)

Ferrante drew up his forces in the “Italiano” fashion. To his left were about forty-five hundred infantry of whom, perhaps fourteen hundred were Gonzalo’s men. These were near the center with Gonzalo, mounted on horseback, at their head. On the far right were three hundred jinetes. Between the jinetes and Gonzalo’s infantry but somewhat behind the line were about one hundred men-at-arms or heavy armored cavalry from Napoles with Ferrante. The Frances commander placed his four thousand infantry including about sixteen hundred pike men in his center, and split his lancers, a heavy cavalry, about three hundred on each flank. A small stream with little water separated the two sides. Conthagah and I found a hill behind and a little south of the line, which gave us a fair view of the battlefield. He muttered to me that with half a tumen we could wipe out both armies. He was right.

The Frances started things by moving their left lancers across the stream at the jinetes. The latter threw themselves at the heavier cavalry throwing them into some confusion, but doing little damage against their armor. They then fell back, reorganized themselves, and sortied again using a sensible hit-and-run tactic to keep the Frances off balance. It was obvious they needed some help, and I noticed Gonzalo riding over to Ferrante. I assumed and he later confirmed that he was asking him to commit his men-at-arms to assist the jinetes. They did not move, however, and Gonzalo later told me that Ferrante had said it was a very ancient tradition to keep the men-at-arms around the banner of the king as a rallying point.

While this was going on, the local levies on the far left began to melt away, apparently because they thought the jinetes were retreating instead of feinting. Seeing this, the Frances and Suizo infantry began moving against the faltering line. Gonzalo then led his infantry in furious counterattack that left the enemy staggering back. Without support, the jinetes had to fall back from the relentless Frances heavy cavalry. In the open field, they were no match for them. Soon Ferrante and his men-at-arms were engaged by more of the Suizos. His horse went down, but he jumped up and continued fighting furiously. Finally, one of his captains, Altavilla, gave Ferrante his horse and covered his retreat at the cost of his life.
With the Napoles fleeing the battle, Gonzalo conducted an orderly retreat, constantly and ferociously counterattacking the enemy to keep them off balance and prevent a rout. The Frances finally gave up the pursuit, and Gonzalo retired to Seminara. We joined him there and found him rounding up all the men who could move and soon had them leaving the likely trap and on the way toward Reggio. There with the rear guard and the fleet that had brought him, he knew the Frances would not follow him. I expected him to be full of anger and recriminations over the ignominious debacle, but instead found him full of good cheer, urging on the men, and chatting pleasantly with me. He had a steely determination, which left me certain this campaign had only just begun.

Once we arrived at Reggio, Gonzalo was further cheered to find that Ferrante had departed for Sicilia leaving his army behind. He immediately started training the Italianos. He sent a report to his sovereigns explaining the loss and asking for reinforcements, supplies, and pay for his troops. He reorganized his forces. He replaced as many crossbows as possible with the handheld cannon they called arcabuces. He had the smaller real cannon carried by mules so they could be easily moved along difficult mountain tracks. He started the winter in Reggio, sending out parties to attack the Frances at every opportunity. Never in the pitched battle they wished for, but rather with hit-and-run, ambush, and skirmish always where and when they least expected it. The locals, thoroughly disenchanted with the Frances, were happy to help with timely information. This along with the continued illness of the Frances commander greatly undermined their morale.

His tactics soon forced the Frances to fragment and withdraw into fortresses and strong points. Gonzalo began to reduce these one by one. He finally established his winter quarters in Nicastro, well positioned to protect the rest of the peninsula. From here he sent out parties to keep up the pressure on the Frances. Then in the spring, the arrival of three hundred instead of the promised fifteen hundred infantry from the Castellano province of Galicia and the long-overdue payment for his troops was a partial relief to him. The new troops had no arms and were in rags, but he soon fixed them up and began to move north along the course of the Crati River.

About midway down the river, we came upon the Frances in the town of Cosenza. It fell quickly, but the citadel held off three furious assaults. To his credit, Gonzalo invested the citadel with enough troops to keep them there and moved north with the bulk of his army. We left the Crati at Terranova and paused at the town of Castrovillari. Here we received a message from Ferrante that he had been defeated near the town of Eboli by a Frances army under Francisco D’Allegre, Lord Percy.

It seemed that the young king had taken Gonzalo’s advice and opened up a second front near Napoles. He had landed unopposed at Magdalena south of Napoles near the mouth of the River Sebeto. The Frances viceroy, Montpensier, sallied out of Napoles with most of his garrison to meet the challenge. Once he was gone, the fickle citizens of the city rose up against the remaining Frances and slaughtered them. With his base gone, Montpensier retreated to the city’s two castles, Del Ovo and Nuovo. The cities of Capua, Aquila, and Aversa also rid themselves of the Frances. Meanwhile, Ferrante entered into Napoles with much triumph and rejoicing and soon received the allegiance of many of the barons who had previously sided with the Frances. Not willing to wait for the reinforcements from the Holy League, Ferrante decided to sally forth against the remaining Frances leaving Montpensier trapped in his castles. And so he rushed forward to meet the Frances relief column under Percy and was defeated at Eboli, about thirteen leguas southeast of Napoles. Castrovillari was a farther thirty leguas southeast of Eboli.

Gonzalo called his captains together and invited me to join him. Some of the captains wanted to keep up the pressure on D’Aubigny and leave Ferrante to be rescued by the Holy League. Gonzalo reminded them that they were there to reinstall the king of Naples, so their first obligation was to make sure he was there to reinstall. While they were deciding the best way to proceed to his help, the impatient Ferrante decided to blunder ahead again against Percy, buoyed by the imminent arrival of the Holy League forces under Juan Francisco Gonzaga.

Meanwhile Montpensier received two thousand reinforcements from the city of Gaeta to the northwest. At the same time some still-loyal Napoles nobles reinforced Percy. The latter decided he would retake Napoles, but on the way, his Suizo pike men refused to fight until they were paid. Having no means to pay them, he was forced to retreat toward Benevento, a town about eleven leguas northeast of Napoles. He then continued on to Atella some six leguas farther east. It was in a broad high valley which, although strategically placed and easily defended, was far from the coast and any hope of help from Francia. Ferrante and Gonzaga followed him there.

Gonzalo left Luis de Vera with two hundred jinetes and six hundred infantry to cover his back and led the rest of his force north to join Ferrante. Not far along the mountain track, his scouts came back to report an ambush had been set for them on the road ahead by the prince of Besignano, allied to the Frances. Gonzalo had a portion of his men lounge about where they were, as though they were taking a break, and sent the rest of his forces around the mountain to hit the ambush from the rear. The ambushers were utterly routed. The next day he took the town of Morano.

Continuing north we next came upon the town of Laino, divided in two by the River Lao, the town on one side and the castle on the other. Here was the well-provisioned bulk of the prince’s army. Since he could see that they had much heavy cavalry, Gonzalo waited until nightfall, then had his men infiltrate along both banks of the river to the bridge uniting the two parts of the town. He put a strong force in place to hold the bridge and sent some of the remainder to attack the castle and the rest to invest the town. I could not believe they were able to get into position without raising alarm, but they did, making no sound until their attacking battle cry “Santiago y Espanya.” The surprise was complete. Most of the army was asleep and unarmored. Those in the town tried to reach the castle, but could not force the strongly held bridge. Those in the castle were thrown into confusion and quickly overcome. By dawn it was all over with only those that jumped into the river escaping. Many surrendered and the booty was impressive.

Before we left, word reached us that Luis de Vera and the rear guard had been surprised by D’Aubigny while sacking a village and routed. Gonzalo detached a small force under the Cardinal of Aragon to watch for and rally the rear guard. We continued north with about seventy men-at-arms, four hundred jinetes, and one thousand infantry. We arrived at the city of Potenza without incident and after a short rest continued on to Atella by forced marches. When we neared the camp of the besiegers, Gonzalo had the drummers beat the cadence, and dressing the ranks smartly, he marched them up in perfect order. Ferrante came out to welcome us accompanied by Gonzaga and the usual entourage of notables among whom was the son of the papa, Cesar Borja.

The entire besieging force was considerable, thirteen hundred heavy cavalry, fifteen hundred light cavalry, and four thousand infantry. The siege had gone on for a month so far and the Frances were quite secure. There was the River Atella that came out of the north, swept around the city, and flowed to the northeast, practically surrounding the city with a moat. Furthermore, there were fortified strong points all around the city. Gonzalo and I accompanied Ferrante to the top of a hill where we could see the entire area and then made the rounds of the besieging forces. It was obvious the allies didn’t have enough men to storm the city. But Gonzalo noticed that along the river there were mills, buildings that use the flow of the river to rotate large stones which grind grain. These were guarded by companies of the Frances and their Suizo mercenaries. It was clear to him that he needed to take the mills.

He organized his men to attack while the Italianos watched. In the first rank were the armored infantry. Behind them were the pike men covering them and the arcabuceros. The jinetes screened the town and the men-at-arms were positioned to block a sally from the town. The Frances and Suizos moved between the mills and Gonzalo’s men, the Frances arcabuceros in front and the Suizo pike men behind. The forces in the town remained there. The infantry attacked first, yelling their battle cry and rushing forward. The Frances arcabuceros then fired their volley expecting to repel the infantry. Instead it spurred them on and the Frances retreated behind the Suizos. These did not impress the infantry, but they pushed aside the pikes with their shields and hacked away at anything not armored, causing the Suizos to drop their pikes and flee toward the town. At this moment the jinetes swooped in on them and cut them down. Few survived. Finally the Frances sallied forth from the town and the men-at-arms slowed them up until Gonzalo sounded the recall and reformed his men to move against the sortie. The Frances soon gave ground and fled back into the town. It was after this skirmish that the Italianos began calling Gonzalo, the Great Captain.

Having taken and destroyed the mills, Gonzalo began taking the outer defenses one by one. In nine days he took two of their supposedly impregnable strong points, Venosa and Ripacandida. A small relief force was destroyed by the duke of Gandia, the eldest son of the papa, who had recently been ignominiously defeated by the Orsini family, allies of the Frances. Soon the swollen population, the summer heat, and loss of the mills began to tell on the besieged. They were starving, thirsty, and disease ridden. They sent out Percy to negotiate within three weeks of our arrival. Gonzalo agreed to a thirty-day truce after which the Frances left the city with no arms and no horses. Ferrante insisted that they await evacuation from the sea and forced them into a swampy feverinfested place near Castellamare di Stabia where they languished for months waiting for their king to rescue them. Eventually only a few ships came and the rest had to walk back to Francia. It was said that of the five thousand who surrendered only five hundred made it back to Francia. Montpensier died there with his men. It was a shameful way for the Frances king to treat his men.

Shortly after the surrender, Ferrante rewarded Gonzalo by naming him viceroy of Calabria. Then he returned to Napoles to marry his aunt by marriage, a niece of King Fernando. I was invited to the festivities, but preferred to stay with Gonzalo who took his army to wipe out the remaining pockets of Frances. Not long after his marriage, plague broke out around Napoles claiming Ferrante, who was relaxing in Pozzuoli west of the city, as one of its victims. His uncle Fadrique, the prince of Altamura, an illegitimate son of Ferrante’s grandfather, was named successor by the papa. This apparently flew in the face of an understanding that King Fernando would be made king of Napoles should Ferrante die without issue. He was furious at the papa’s duplicity, but decided to bide his time.

Gonzalo and I knew nothing about this until later, but spent the winter going from one stronghold of the Frances to another, reducing them in turn. For those along the coast, he made use of the squadron of Galceran de Requesens, and so he took Gaeta, Tarento, and Barletta. Then he turned to the inland garrisons and soon reduced Auletta, Nola, and Olivetto. Finally, we were besieging the fortress called Rocca Guglielma, northeast of Gaeta, when Gonzalo received a message from the papa asking him to help him deal with Ostia. The town is at the mouth of the Tiber River, on which Roma is located, and was being used to stop all ships bound for Roma, farther up the river. It seemed that at the behest of Cardinal della Rovere an enemy of the papa, a mercenary named Menaldo Guerri, an Eskualdunac from Viscaino, with his own small squadron of galleys, stationed himself in Ostia and boarded, sacked, and sank any ship trying to reach Roma. Gonzalo lifted the siege and we marched for Roma.

When we reached Roma, Gonzalo and I went to stay with the Spanish ambassador, Garcilaso de la Vega. It was here that we were brought up to date on all the gossip. On the third day, Gonzalo decided his men were rested and made ready to move on Ostia. Before we left, the papa insisted on receiving us in state and leading a service to invoke God’s blessing on the venture. He also foisted his son, the duke of Gandia, on the expedition. We finally left that night marching out of the city quietly. As was his wont, Gonzalo rode quietly along the lines, speaking to various of his men, addressing them by their name and encouraging some, joking with others, cheering up others. He seemed to know his men very well.

I rode with the duke of Gandia and tried to take the measure of the man. He betrayed no talent that I could detect. He couldn’t tell me any details of his victory over the relief column and blamed all his failures against the Orsini on the duke of Urbino, a vassal of the papa. He could not tell me how the latter failed. He didn’t seem to know anything about battle. I suspected his father had sent him on this expedition in the hope that he might learn something from Gonzalo. He had been lightly wounded during his battles with the Orsini, and all he seemed to have learned from his experience was to stay well away from any danger. Since Gonzalo led from the front, Gandia was rarely near enough to learn anything.

Gonzalo had sent the artillery ahead and they were well emplaced when we arrived. He did some rearranging and began to encircle the town with his troops. Shortly after we arrived, de la Vega arrived with some forces he had gathered in Roma. Gonzalo placed them east of the town, nearest to Roma. With everything in place, he waited the rest of the day leaving Guerri to contemplate the trap. Early the next morning, the artillery began pounding the walls. On the third day, the walls still held but a mass assault was attempted. This was thrown back, however. Reconnoitering the town, Gonzalo noticed that there were large cracks in the eastern walls. He concentrated his artillery and most of his troops there, and, calling together his captains, listened to what they had to say, then went over what he expected from them.
He had the artillery concentrate on the cracks until the walls were breached. Then he had de la Vega lead an assault on the breach. Meanwhile he had hidden the rest of his men on the western side of the town, and once they heard the attack begin, he led them over the poorly defended western wall and into the town. Alonso de Sotomayor captured Guerri after single combat and the town surrendered. Gonzalo upbraided Guerri for taking up arms against the papa, but the latter insisted that he had served the man who hired him, as he was honor bound to do.

Gonzalo disarmed the Frances and Italiano forces, then released them. The Spanish, however, were held as traitors. Six days later, we returned to Roma. He arranged the men for his grand entrance. First the infantry, then the men-at-arms, then the jinetes marched accompanied by drums and horns. Then Gonzalo’s standard bearer, and flag bearers, then three horn players blasting his own theme, then Gonzalo with the duke of Gandia, the papa’s son, on his right. Behind him was Guerri, disheveled and mounted on a sorry-looking nag, but still unbowed and defiant, and followed by the prisoners. Bringing up the rear were the Spanish knights. He had wanted me to ride at his right hand, but I refused, pointing out that since I was not a combatant, I had no business taking part in the triumph. He agreed, but added that I contributed at least as much as the duke had. Since the latter always remained well out of danger, he was probably right.

Conthagah and I rode in the rear with the knights. The streets were thronged with cheering crowds, flowers or colored carpets hung from every window. The volume rose noticeably when Gonzalo rode past and changed to jeering and curses for Guerri only to return to cheers as the knights passed. The procession continued to the official church of the papa, San Pietro, where he and his entourage awaited at the top of the stairs in front of the building. Gonzalo dismounted, walked up the stairs, and knelt down in front of the papa to kiss his foot, as is their bizarre custom. The papa didn’t allow it, but raised him up and kissed him on both cheeks. He tried to heap praise on him, but Gonzalo insisted that all credit was due his sovereigns in whose name he accepted it. The papa insisted on awarding him the Golden Rose, which was usually only given to kings who had performed significant service to the Church. Finally he asked if there was any favor he could grant him. Gonzalo asked that the people of Campania, the province that includes both Roma and Ostia, be exempted from taxes for ten years since they had suffered so much loss. He also asked that Guerri be pardoned. Both requests were granted.

Guerri was stunned, but remarked that the load of his bad fortune was lightened by the fact that he had been beaten by the best. He then departed for Francia. I was tempted to speak to him, but refrained. He did not seem to know anything about me.

We stayed again with de la Vega. Conthagah and I looked around the city while the papa feted Gonzalo and the ambassador. It was a strange city, surrounded by a wall and filled with ancient ruins and fallen columns as well as fairly new grand houses and churches and a great many buildings somewhere between these extremes. There were vast tunnels below the city which were considered sacred burial sites and many monuments to various personages from their past.

I noticed Gonzalo was getting increasingly agitated over the next few days, but assumed he was anxious to finish mopping up the Frances and get back home. I also noticed that the mood of the people of Roma had turned against their heroes of a few days before. De la Vega, ever the gossip, told me that Gonzalo was offended by the “tone” of the papa’s banquets. Seeing that I was bewildered by that remark, he explained that even though the papa was the “vicar of Christ” and the successor of the “apostles,” he did not lead a very moral life, and was wont to flaunt his excesses at this banquets. As a fellow ambassador, he was sure I would try not to be offended by what took place, but Gonzalo, an anomaly among men, actually took his religion seriously and found the papa’s behavior reprehensible. I assured him that in my experience, priests were always the most corrupt representatives of any tribe we conquered. He smiled warily, but did not reply.

On the fifth day, Gonzalo announced that he was leaving as soon as possible, and congratulated me on staying away from the papa. I assured him I found the city quite interesting, although it was becoming rather hostile. He agreed and told me he felt the papa and his relatives were stirring up the mob against his men. I suggested that made no sense since he had asked for Gonzalo’s help and seemed quite grateful when we returned triumphant. He then told me that the previous Sunday, which was called Palm Sunday, he had been offered a seat below the pathetic duke of Gandia! It was an insult to his sovereigns and his men as well as him. He had refused to take the seat and had refused a blessed palm frond as well. He added that the papa’s secretary had the temerity to come to him and ask why he was upset. Not wishing to discomfort the man, he told him it was a personal difference between him and Gandia. Now he had heard the mob is demanding that his troops, who had just saved them from starvation, be stoned in the streets. On Good Friday of all days!

He left to take his leave of the papa and gave orders for his troops to be ready to leave at first light the next morning. De la Vega went with him trying to calm him down. That was a shame since I wondered what he was talking about. I did manage to corner one of the ambassador’s assistants who explained that Palm Sunday commemorated Jesus Christo’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem a few days before he was “sacrificed” on the cross on Good Friday. It seems they call it “Good” Friday because the sacrifice “redeemed” all of us. Well, he added, all of us who are baptized. I decided that was enough information.

The next morning, de la Vega seemed upset with Gonzalo. I heard him say that he had made his job much more difficult. Gonzalo insisted that he had only said what needed to be said, and graciously apologized for any trouble he had caused the ambassador. As we rode out of the city, he rode a little apart with me and told me that he had felt it necessary to upbraid the papa for his scandalous behavior. I nodded, but said nothing. Gonzalo was very devout to his religion and I imagined the lack of even a veneer of morality by its leader was very troubling to him.

We returned to Rocca Guglielma and renewed the siege. During a one-day truce, the commander of the garrison, Andrea Doria, a mercenary from Colon’s Genova, was invited to dine with Gonzalo. (I can’t imagine any of our Ordu commanders inviting the leader of the enemy to dine.) During the meal, he asked Doria where he should put his artillery. The fool pointed out a nearby copse from where he felt they would do the most damage. Gonzalo then turned to his gunners and reminded them that was the very spot he had told them would be best. Doria turned red, and the surrender came in a few days. The Frances had churlishly destroyed everything they thought might be of use to Gonzalo’s men, so he permitted his men to sack the castle in retaliation. With this accomplished, we marched to Napoles for another triumphant entry and a warm reception from King Fadrique. This time Gonzalo was named duke of Sant’ Angelo and given and estate with three thousand vassals in the province of Abruzzi on the northern border of the kingdom.

While in Napoles I polished up my extensive report on the campaign and added some pertinent comments about the various leaders I had met and the quality of the soldiers I had seen in action. I sent the report with Gonzalo’s final report, asking King Fernando to send it on the Khakhan. A few weeks later, dispatches arrived from Fernando. Gonzalo was congratulated and ordered to return toEspanya. I was assured my report had been sent to the Khakhan and was given a single letter from him. In it he mentioned that Colon had learned Mongol, but thanks to my son he was taught it using the Latin script rather than the Uighur script, so it was still possible for us to communicate confidently. He congratulated me on my son and advised me that he was planning to visit me. I could not imagine how John had kept that from me. When we communicated in the dream world, neither he nor his mother had let on. The Khakhan went on to suggest that after the campaign is over, I should wander around Europa a bit and report on what I see.

I gave Gonzalo the news of my orders and thanked him for letting me tag along on his campaign. I urged him to thank his sovereigns for me when he saw them. He thanked me for accompanying him and expressed how much he had enjoyed talking to me, since he felt we had much in common even though we were from different worlds. He added that he would write to Fernando my thanks, since he could not yet leave Napoles. We took our leave and promised to meet when we were next in Espanya.

Conthagah and I planned to leave in late spring and ride northwest staying within sight of the coast. Gonzalo had insisted that a squadron of jinetes accompany me, but I pointed out that such a force was more likely to attract hostile attention than a small group. I did ask him if King Fadrique might have someone knowledgeable in the various Italiano dialects and who was aware of which places I should avoid that he could spare for a few months. While I had a fair grasp of the Napoles dialect, I was dismayed while at Atella to discover I could not communicate with the Italianos from the north. My request secured me the service of a young man named Giovanni Colonna, a young man related to major allies of the king. He was grateful to me for saving him from the boring court. He had served in the Napoles army with us for most of the campaign and had conveniently learned the Castellano language.

I chided Carlotta and John for not telling me he was coming to meet me. Carlotta said that it was John’s surprise, and he said he was sure I would have tried to stop him had I known. I assured him he was right, and if it wasn’t too late, he should turn back. This is a dangerous place for one such as he. He smiled, knowingly, and told me he was already in Europa and had been since the previous fall. I asked him where he was and what he had been doing all that time. He smiled again and replied that he was among friends and had been learning many things. I asked what friends he had in Europa. He reminded me of Luis. So he was with Luis then. He admitted he had been staying with Luis. He added that he would meet me in the town of Baden, near the Rhine River. I remembered the Rhine being a very long river that began near the northern border of the Suizos and debauched into what was called the North Sea. It ran for almost all its length through the empire, but its mouth was in Brabant, a province merely controlled by the emperor. Since the emperor was an ally of Fernando and Isabella, and indeed, had just married his son Felipe and daughter Margarita to the latters’ daughter, Juana, and son Juan, it was most likely this would be a safe trip for me.

I asked Giovanni if he knew where Baden was. He said it was in a little valley just east of the Rhine near the northern end of the Black Forest. He suggested that our best path would be through the states belonging to the papa, then through Venetia, a member of the Holy League, then into the empire. It should be a very safe trip as long as we stayed on the main roads, which, he pointed out, we were not doing. I told him we could continue along the coast until we reached Ostia; then we could go on to Roma. After that we would follow his advice. He had some misgivings, but felt we could probably stay in monasterios almost every night along the way. I asked why we would want to do that. He said it was the safest place to stay at night and would give us the opportunity to pray for our safe journey. Conthagah and I exchanged looks, but the young man was so sincere, I didn’t say anything more.

We came to our first monasterio well before dusk, but Giovanni insisted we had to stay there. We were welcomed gravely by the frailes and asked if we had anything for the meal. I donated some of my chili, which was received with wonder. The soup we were fed that evening was fairly rich, but I couldn’t detect any chili so I added some to Conthagah’s and mine. Giovanni asked for the tiniest bit for his soup. The bread we were served was thick and dark and rather tasty. The single goblet of wine was cut with water, but that was likely an improvement, since it was little more than vinegar. We were seated at a separate table from the frailes, but we were in the same room, and throughout the meal one of them read from the Biblia in Latin. It was mostly the book of poems called Psalmos. After the meal we were shown to a common room with rather rude accommodations. To be precise, there was straw strewn about the stone floor and a slop bucket in one corner. The straw was fresh, at least.

The next morning we were led back to the dining room and fed clear broth, bread and water. Again one of the frailes read from the Biblia; this time it was one of the profetas, Isias. After the meal, we were led out of the building, and our horses were brought to us. We thanked them for their hospitality and they thanked me for my generosity. As we rode out of the monasterio, Giovanni asked if I was ill. I replied that I was not, and then he asked why else would I wish to go to Baden. I said to meet someone and asked why a sick person would go there. He said there were several hot springs in Baden that had very good effect on the ill who bathed in or drank them. I remarked that perhaps that would be interesting.

We continued monasterio hopping until we finally reached Ostia. The walls were being repaired, but it was slow work. Otherwise, there were few signs of the recent battle. We thankfully stayed at an inn. The food was worse and the room stank of unwashed bodies, but no one read during the meal. When we reached Roma, I insisted we stay with de la Vega instead of another monastery or inn. Giovanni agreed, but said in large cities we could always find a decent inn. De la Vega was delighted to see me again and told me all the gossip.

It seems the papa’s son-in-law, Giovanni Sforza, fled Rome not long after my previous visit. Apparently he had been warned that he would be killed. He rode all the way to Pesaro, about fifty leguas to the north in twentyfour hours. It is said his horse, a fine Arabian, dropped dead when he reached the city gates. He had heard that Lucrecia, the papa’s daughter, had warned her husband that he was to be killed after a visit from her brother Cesar. Then, as is the custom for married women whose husbands abandon them, she had withdrawn from society and gone to the Convent of San Sisto. Now the two brothers, Cesar and the duke of Gandia are furious with each other over their sister’s departure, since it is whispered that they both share her bed. My look of shock at this revelation was only hardened when he added that it was also whispered that her father shared her bed. Of course, perhaps it was only lies designed to discredit the family, he added. Anyway, there had just been a secret meeting of the cardinals, and three cities south of Roma, Pontecorvo, Tarracina, and Benevente have been made into a duchy under the duke of Gandia. The papa hopes to eventually place his son on the throne of Napoles. He had even canceled the annual tribute Napoles pays the papacy to advance his plans. Meanwhile the papa had appointed Cesar as his legate to Fadrique’s coronation. That means he and Gandia will be traveling together to Napoles. There is some betting whether both will make it there alive. It was a relief to leave Roma the next morning.

58
Roma to Frankfurt 129 K
(Rome, Italy to Frankfurt, Germany 1497)

We rode generally north from Roma staying at inns in the cities and monasterios in between. All the towns and cities in Italia had rather musical names. In the small towns there was usually a central plaza where one would find a church that generally was the most impressive structure in the town, and on certain days there would be a small market in the square where local goods were sold and exchanged. Sometimes the town was associated with a monasterio, and there would be no church in the town, and sometimes there would be both a monasterio and a church. The cities often had rather imposing administrative centers on the central plaza across from or next to the church. We would also come upon the occasional castle. This could either be incorporated into the town, on a hill above it, or at a short distance away from it. Almost every town of any size was surrounded by an imposing wall in varying stages of repair.

The mountains through which we passed were rugged, but not so much as those in the south. There were many flocks of goats or sheep and herds of cattle grazing along the way. There was some cultivation, small farms that raised grain, vegetables, fruit and animals. There were also mines and stone quarries. My grandfather would have been most interested in these and no doubt would have stopped and examined everything. But I know nothing of such things except of course that I could tell a mine from a quarry.

Some of the larger cities we passed through in the papal lands included Perugia, Rimini, Ravenna, and Ferrara. While in Ferrara we heard that the duke of Gandia had been murdered and the papa was inconsolable. Suspicion was fairly widespread, since he had no dearth of enemies, including his brother Cesar, but no arrest had been made. Apparently this happened only a few days after we left Roma, but the news took a while to reach my ears. I never would have heard of it had not Giovanni overheard a discussion at the inn. While I had not held Gandia in any regard, I certainly did not wish him ill.

We passed into the territory of Venetia once we crossed the Po River, a little north of Ferrara. Late in the day, we arrived in the city of Padova where a representative of the doge, the ruler of Venetia, met us. He invited us to visit Venetia and I agreed, since I thought it would be a good opportunity to study this maritime power’s navy. Still, I asked the man how it was that the doge knew we would be here. He smiled broadly and answered that it was the doge’s business to know who was in his lands. We were escorted to the home of the chief magistrate of the city who received us most graciously. This was easily our most pleasant accommodation and meal since Roma.

Of course we were plied with questions about the papa, Gandia, and Cesar as well as Gonzalo, Fernando, Fadrique, and even de la Vega. I was politely evasive, giving no more information than was general knowledge. I then turned the tables and asked about Venetia and its relations with their recent allies, the empire, the papa and Espanya. It was my hosts’ turn to be politely evasive. After dinner I was shocked to be offered the services of women for the evening. There were some tribes back home who made such gestures of hospitality, but this was the first time it was so blatantly offered to me in Europa. At least Fernando had been more circumspect. When I politely declined, I was asked if I would prefer a young boy. My look of shock and disgust brought immediate apologies from my host. When I told my companions what I had just been offered, Giovanni just shrugged, and Conthagah spat in disgust.

The next morning we departed for Venetia. We were taken by coach to the River Brenta and boarded an elaborate barge, which was towed downstream by teams of horses along the banks. We eventually reached a large lagoon separated from the sea by long narrow islands. In the lagoon were over a hundred islands of varying sizes, many with buildings on them. Our barge was met by a modest-sized, although very ornate, shallow draft boat which took my party aboard and rowed us to the most built up of the islands, which might have been two islands separated by a channel, but then the islands were crossed by many canals turning them into a collection of tiny islands much like Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco. We pulled up to a stone quay at one end of a plaza. To the left of the quay was a large very ornate building, which our guide identified as the doge’s palace. On its right was an imposing cathedral dedicated to Saint Marco, the city’s patron. I was taken to the doge’s palace.

I was immediately ushered into the presence of the doge, Agostino Barbarigo. He claimed to be honored to meet such a distinguished guest and insisted on taking me personally on a tour of the city the next day. As it was, I must remain at the palace as his guest. There would be a banquet in my honor that evening. I was a bit overwhelmed by all this attention and wondered what he wanted from me, but I replied with all due gratitude and politeness, assuring him that I would report his kindness to the Khakhan. I could see that his attendants were very pleased by my words, but the doge betrayed no emotion except geniality. It was a most studied behavior. I was shown to my room, which was quite well appointed by the local standards, although it was all a bit much for my tastes. When Giovanni visited me, his mouth was agape, and he assured me the king of Napoles did not live so comfortably. Conthagah was not impressed and told me in Mongol that the whole place stunk worse than a swamp. He was right, actually, but again, one’s nose gets used to anything given enough time.

At the banquet that evening, I wore my uniform. It was quite unimpressive next to all the fancy, fussy clothes the other guests wore, but since I was a foreigner, no one openly looked down on me. Giovanni wore his best clothes, but was no match for the locals. Conthagah insisted on standing behind me fully armed and I passed it off as our custom at banquets. Of course, I can’t ever remember a Mongol banquet. The food was mostly fish, shellfish, and fowl of various kinds. Most of it was boiled, but some of the fish was fried. I don’t know why they don’t broil meat. As usual it was far too much, and I knew I had to eat a little of each course whether I liked it or not. Only pleasantries were discussed at the meal. I excused myself as soon I could without insulting my hosts.

The next day, the moment I opened my door, an attendant was there to lead me to the doge. We gathered up Giovanni and Conthagah along the way. The doge led us next door to the Basilica, as he called the cathedral, to show it off for me. Along the way he pointed out various works of art in his palace. The sculptures are made of a marvelous stone called marmol (marble) in Castellano. It seems like our limestone, but it takes a high polish. Although we could reach the church directly from the palace, he led us outside so we could admire the front. The doge claimed that his predecessors had secured the body of someone called San Marco from Egypt almost six hundred years before and built the Basilica in his honor. I mentioned that it was the Mongol custom to hide burials to prevent desecration, although my family preferred cremation. He told me cremation was usually only practiced during plagues. He added that some people feared it might prevent the resurrection of the body. I remembered that term from the Biblia. I asked what difference it would make if one were reduced to dust over time or over a flame. He admitted that most Church officials were divided on the issue, but agreed it was worth the gamble in plague times. I asked and it seems San Marco was the author of one of the books in the second part of the Biblia. Since Cisneros told me this part had been written about thirteen hundred years ago, I couldn’t imagine what the condition of the body was when they purloined it. I didn’t bring this up, of course.

The basilica was most ornate. It was hard to follow the lines of it with all the decorations and sculptures. There was a large arch over the main entrance and two smaller arches and entrances on each side of the main one. There was a further arch on each side serving as a buttress. There were five domes each topped with an onionshaped structure and countless spires on top the building. There were four bronze horses on a terrace above the main entrance. I asked why horses and the doge said they symbolized the power and glory of the Republic. He added they had been taken from the Hippodrome in Constantinople almost three hundred years ago. I asked, and the Hippodrome was a large enclosed arena where there were races of horse-drawn chariots—that explained the horses. Inside the basilica was rather cavernous, with natural light coming through narrow windows in the five domes. The vault was decorated with a form of art called mosaico, where pictures are made from small colored pieces of tile. The bishop led us around and went on at length about all the various “holy” men and women depicted.

The building was in the form of a cross with the main altar, under which the remains of St. Marco are interred, in the center. There was a separate baptistery through a door in the right aisle. It was here that the right of baptism was performed, making one a member of the Christian Church. I think the bishop tarried here hoping in vain that either Conthagah or I would volunteer. Apparently the remains of San Isidoro (I didn’t ask who he was) were also enshrined behind another altar. Some of the previous doges were buried in the Basilica as well, mostly in the walls of the atrium.

We finally left the Basilica after midday and crossed the square in front of the doge’s palace to the quay. There a rather large and garish barge called The Bucintoro was waiting for us. With the doge leading the way, we stepped aboard and were soon rowed into and along what was called the Grand Canal, a wide S-shaped waterway that bisected the island. About midway along the canal was its only bridge, a covered wooden affair with central portion that could be drawn up to allow the taller ships to pass. Along the canal were many great houses, most with façades of marmol carved with floral designs and having inserts of purple-red or green stones. The rooftops had terraces and many chimneys. Some of the houses had ships moored beside them. For some reason, we didn’t visit any of the houses, but only stopped at the endless number of churches. I did call attention to a particularly ornate house just beyond the bridge, but the doge just said it belonged to a family named Contarini.

While we were touring the Grand Canal, a light meal was served along with much wine. I asked the doge if I could see his much-admired navy. He replied that a few galleys were in the city, but most of the fleet was at sea. I ventured that I had not seen any warships on my approach or during this tour. He replied that they were in the Arsenale, normally off-limits to outsiders, but he would make an exception for me. However, since it was getting dark we would have to go the next day. We returned to the palace for another banquet in my honor.

The next morning I was again led to join the doge for a morning meal. During the meal, he explained that Giovanni would not be permitted in the Arsenale, but my bodyguard and I would be. Giovanni was disappointed, but not surprised. He told me later that he couldn’t believe the doge had agreed to show me the very secret building. I had the feeling expectations had been raised a bit too high. After the meal, Conthagah and I followed the doge back aboard The Bucintoro. This time the ship turned east away from the Grand Canal. We turned up a smaller canal lined by what looked like warehouses. We came to two large towers with a large wooden gate between them blocking the way. We tied up to the quay and disembarked on the left side. We walked up to a high arch of marmol in the form of double columns. On top was a huge winged lion carved into the entablature and surmounting it was a pediment with a statue of Santa Justina (I didn’t ask who she was either). Inside was merely an enclosed shipyard, rather less sophisticated than our own. The two galleys in the facility undergoing repairs were little different from those of Espanya, although they were somewhat larger.

Since my host expected me to be impressed, I told him that his facilities were certainly superior to those in Espanya. He asked how they compared with those of the Mongols. I had to tell him that our ships required much larger facilities, although we did not enclose them, nor did we work in secret. He was taken aback and asked if his navy could visit one of our facilities. I assured him I would ask the Khakhan for him, but I didn’t think his galleys could make it across the Western Sea. Of course one of our ships could take his people across easily. He suggested that would be most accommodating. We returned after midday. It was not as though the tour was interesting, but the doge kept trying to impress me with their technology and wasted much time explaining the obvious to me.

When we returned to the palace, I asked not to be disturbed for a while and wrote up a description of the arsenale and the warships for the Khakhan. I also passed along the doge’s request for a visit to one of our shipyards and the necessity that if he approved, he would have to send a ship since none of theirs would make it. Once finished I asked a servant to request an audience with the doge. I was quickly led to him. I told him that I had completed the dispatch to the Khakhan and need only have it delivered to the Espanyan ambassador. He said he would be honored to send a fast galley to the court of his ally in the recent war to deliver my note. I thanked him and turned it over, wondering what they would make of the Uighur script, after they surreptitiously opened it. I then thanked him for all his hospitality, but insisted I must continue on my journey. He expressed regret that I could not stay longer but prevailed on me to wait until after breakfast the next day. I agreed.

We, of course, had to endure yet another banquet in my honor. This time various ambassadors were invited and all of them tried to cozy up to me and press me to visit their rulers. I assured them I would go wherever my ruler ordered me to go. The next morning after breakfast, the doge led us to his barge once more to return us to the mainland. The barge delivered us to the river barge, which was towed upstream by the horses. We were met by the magistrate of Padova, who prevailed on us to spend the night with him since it was already late in the day. I reluctantly agreed, on the condition that there would be no banquet in my honor. He seemed a bit disappointed, and tried to convince me to at least stay and see the wondrous works of art in the city, but I insisted we must leave.

The next morning, we left right after breakfast, taking the road heading a little north of west toward Vicenza. I had to firmly turn down the offer of a military escort to the border of Venetia. On the way, I asked Giovanni why no one in Venetia even mentioned the Marco Polo about whom Colon went on endlessly. He replied that Polo embarrassed them because they thought his stories were all lies. Colon was one of the few people who believed any of it. I should have asked Colon for the book, so I could read for myself what he wrote. But I told Giovanni that from what Colon told me, Polo visited the court of the great Kubilai and from what all the old Mongols said, it was quite magnificent, much more so than the Khakhanate or anything I had seen in Europa.

We reached the small city of Vicenza that evening and were again whisked to the magistrate’s home. It was more modest than we had recently experienced, but still quite superior to monasterios or inns. Our host prattled on about the place but made no entreaty that we stay and tour. We left a little after dawn on the road to Verona. This road continued somewhat south of west and hurrying along, we reached Verona near dusk. Again we were met by officials and taken immediately to the home of the magistrate.

Verona was a much larger city than Vicenza and apparently much older as well. They were quite proud of dating back some fourteen hundred years to Roman times. They even had Roman ruins including an arena much smaller and more oval than the Coliseum in Roma, but with a similar original function, and a theater. There was also a stone bridge that had been built by the Romans over the Adige River, which bisected the city. This time we were unable to escape a day of sightseeing. Other than the ruins we were again dragged from church to church. It was becoming tiresome, but one could see why they were proud of them—there was an obvious expenditure of time and treasure on the buildings. Even if most of the buildings seemed a bit much, I had to admit the artwork was far more impressive than ours. At least the subjects were more realistic than those of the Mexica or the Maya. Still, the Mexica cities were much cleaner and more colorful, and the Maya exceeded the Mexica on both counts.

After our day in Verona, we left early following the road along the east bank of the Adige northwestward. The river and the road turned gradually north and then a little east of north. There was some barge traffic coming down the river, although it was becoming more narrow and swifter as we climbed up its valley. Just about dusk we reached the small village of Ala and were whisked to a tiny inn. The magistrate from Rovereto had ridden down to meet us and find the best accommodations he could for us. It was obvious that the room had been severely scrubbed and the furniture replaced just for us. I also suspect any other guests had been turned away or kicked out. The extremely uncomfortable innkeeper was most apologetic that he only had two rooms in the whole inn. The magistrate had thoughtfully brought along his own cook and food to prepare a suitable meal for us. I made every effort to assure them everything was just fine.

When we left the next morning, the magistrate and his considerable entourage accompanied us. He regaled us with the marvels of Rovereto, mentioning among other things that mulberry trees had been planted in the nearby Lagarina Valley and silk production was in full swing. I asked how they had smuggled the silk worms out of lands of the Hanjen, but he didn’t seem to know. We were stuck with this bore all day until we arrived at Rovereto. He led us to a rather imposing castle for what was a modest town. We were treated to another banquet with all the influential people of the town. Unlike Venetia, these people asked simple rather stupid questions about us, and betrayed no sophistication or guile at all. Except, of course, for the magistrate, who was from Venetia, as he kept reminding us, and smiled indulgently at some of the more crass questions of the locals. I made every effort to turn around the worst of their queries and was very grateful that Conthagah had no understanding of Italiano.

Before leaving the next morning, our host prevailed upon us to enjoy the view from the battlement of the castle. It was an impressive view, although the nearby mountains made me think one could easily reduce the castle with well-placed artillery. We bid our host farewell and endured an escort to the edge of Venetia territory. It was with much relief that we crossed into the empire, with no attention at all. Giovanni told me that the Alemani (as he called the Alemanes), who made up most of the empire, had too little imagination for intrigue. I had the feeling he was wrong about that. Indeed, we had only been on the road a short while, when a man came seemingly out of nowhere and began following us at a discreet distance. When I pointed him out to Giovanni, he replied that Trento was really an Italiano city, so his sweeping generalization still held.

We, followed by our shadow, arrived in Trento in the afternoon. It was one of the shorter legs on this journey, but it had been mostly uphill. Mountains surrounded the medium-sized town. A cathedral and a castle, the former still being built, dominated the city. There was a guard at the gate to the town, but he ignored us. We stopped at the inn and our shadow went on in the direction of the castle. Giovanni told us that the local prince, Bernardo Clesio, was a noted collector of art. I suspected he would not bother with us, since we weren’t artists. I was right. The inn was quite comfortable, though plain, and the food would have been inedible except for my chili.

The next morning we left very early before dawn, since this would be a very long leg and even more uphill. We pointedly avoided riding by the castle. When we arrived at the gate, the guard opened it up for us without comment. We had not gone far before I noticed our shadow again. We kept up a good pace, changing horses more frequently than usual. Our shadow only had two horses, and by midafternoon was falling behind. Late in the day we crossed the Eisack River and moved away from the Adige up the Eisack’s west bank. We crossed the River Talfer and arrived at Bolzano just at dusk and the gates were closed behind us. Our shadow didn’t make it and must have spent a most uncomfortable night. Giovanni found us a decent inn, much like the one in Trento. He mentioned that Bolzano belonged to Trento. I soon discovered that the innkeeper called the town Bolzen and spoke very little Italiano. Most of the other guests spoke Aleman dialects, utterly indecipherable to me. Fortunately Giovanni could speak enough of the language to get us by. He was, indeed, an inspired addition to our expedition.

On the next leg of our journey, we would continue to follow the Eisack River upstream to the northeast. The road was rougher and steeper, but we didn’t have as far to go. Our shadow did not follow us out of Bolzen, and I didn’t detect a new one. We arrived at Brixen late, as usual, and this time the guard at the gate demanded our documents. I had been given such by de la Vega and Giovanni had his from the king of Napoles, but so far no one had asked to see them. We presented them and he seemed confused and had to consult with his superior. His superior, in turn, had to consult further. Eventually, after the sun had set, we were allowed to continue to the inn and only grudgingly permitted to keep our weapons. It was a rude inn but adequate to our needs. The other guests and the innkeeper viewed us with much suspicion.

The next morning we were met by a town official who wanted to know where we were going. I told him we were on our way to Innsbruck. He nodded and wrote something down on a piece of paper and gave it to us. He said it would make it easier for us to get into Innsbruck. I thanked him and he wished us a safe trip. I couldn’t make out the florid script, but Giovanni insisted it was in Latino and simply requested in the name of the emperor that we should be allowed to continue unimpeded as far as Innsbruck. I should have told him we were going to Baden. As we left, I noticed that the streets of Brixen were quite narrow and winding, and some of the nicer houses had painted façades. Once out of the town, the Eisack River turned to the northwest. Eventually we crossed the Eisack and late in the day arrived at Sterzing. We were stopped at the gate and the guard waved us through after glancing at the paper we had gotten in Brixen. Giovanni managed to find an inn, much like that in Brixen, although the food was even worse. Everyone in the town spoke Aleman, so we were viewed with suspicion again.

We left early and began the climb up to and over the Brenner Pass. It really wasn’t much of a climb. There was a good road and we passed quite a few large carts laden with trade goods going in both directions. It was still late summer, but it was cool in the pass. Once over the pass, we moved only somewhat downhill, soon picking up a small river called the Sill, along which the road ran. As usual we arrived late in the day at Innsbruck. Giovanni told me that the last emperor, Frederico, had considered the town home. It was not a large city, but it was a city, with many houses with high sharp roofs and, of course, a gate and guards. The guards waved us in upon seeing our paper and Giovanni found us a rather nice inn. We had just settled in and were eating the usual bland fare, when a well-dressed young man approached us.

The man asked to see our paper. He then asked how long we would be staying in Innsbruck. Through Giovanni, I explained who we were and how we happened to get the paper. He asked if we wished to meet the emperor. I replied that it was not necessary to bother him, but if it was convenient and he was along our path, I would be honored. He asked where we planned to go, and I replied we were on our way to Baden. He suggested that we go by way of Augsburg, Nuremberg, and Frankfurt. It was the safest, most traveled way. We would find many fine inns along the way, and he would inform the emperor of my route should he wish to meet me. I thanked him for his help and assured him that was to be our route. He sat down and wrote out another floridly illegible note for us, and wished us a safe and pleasant trip.

We took a few days to reach Augsburg, enjoying the mountain vistas and stopping for the night in the small towns of Oberau, Shongau, and Landsberg. The inns in the town varied, but the food was uniformly dreadful. I think Conthagah and I would have starved if I hadn’t brought along the chili. Augsburg was a bustling town of merchants. Apparently, it was also home to many criminals, whom we found in various stages of decay hanging from gibbets or tied to wheels. I found that a rather disgusting propensity throughout Europa, but usually it would only be a few. It seems the local merchants felt the need to overdo the custom. I suspect they were mostly thieves, drawn to the city by all the wealth. We were challenged by the guards, and even after looking over our paper and conferring with their superiors, they only grudgingly let us pass. I noticed that anyone with a large cart, whether full or empty, was waved through immediately. We wandered around a bit before settling on what Giovanni judged to be the best inn. It was all right, the accommodations were clean and pleasant, and the food was almost edible. I should mention the odd way female servants were treated in most of the inns. They were often groped and fondled publicly and did not seem to be offended by it, nor would anyone leap to their defense. I wondered if they were prostitutes who used serving tables in an inn to line up clients.

While we were eating, several of the other guests tried to trade for or buy my chili, but I explained that I only had enough for us. Besides, every innkeeper so far was very pleased to accept a few in payment for our stay. As we left the city, there were more executed men and even women along the road north of the town. On the way to Nuremberg, we stopped at the towns of Mertingten, Nordlingen, and Gunzenhausen. All of these had the practice of welcoming visitors with a few dead felons, but at least it was only a few. The inns were adequate and the food returned to being wretched.

Nuremberg was a large city surrounded by an imposing wall. Unfortunately, it was another merchant city and rivaled Augsburg in the number of executed criminals on display. Upon reaching the gate, we received the same treatment as in Augsburg. There were many large buildings in the town and many languages could be heard along the streets including Italiano and Castellano. I didn’t hear any Euskera, however. Giovanni told me that there were many groups of foreign artisans living in the city. The city also had a very large hospital that I at first took for a cathedral. There was also a massive granary under construction, which I took for a fortress, and wondered why it was being built so far from the wall.

We stopped at the cities of Bamberg and Wurzburg and the town of Aschaffenburg. All boasted large impressive churches, castles, or other buildings. Merchants did not run these, and the guards at the gates and the innkeepers treated us more cordially. We finally arrived in Frankfurt late in the fall. It was an imperial city, and the emperor’s flag flew over the city gates. We were waved in immediately with a mere glance at our paper. We soon discovered that we had entered a small walled suburb of the city and had to cross an old stone bridge over the Main River to reach the city. The river was quite broad here and there were many ships of all sizes tied up at the quay. Giovanni said that the river was not deep here since the city’s name meant, “Ford of the Franks.” The Franks were an Aleman tribe that prevailed in this area at one time.

We rode past the unfinished large cathedral and soon settled into a fine inn Giovanni found for us. The city had many multistory houses with rather busy façades. I found them distractingly ornamental. The cathedral was made of red sandstone and dedicated to San Bartolomeo (although they spelled it differently). There were several high towers along the wall, the highest, perhaps 150 feet high, was called the Eschenheimer Tower. The city was large and its wall was well maintained. There were also some settlements outside the walls.

We decided to spend a day looking around the city. We reached the castle, which had been built by a long-ago emperor named Frederico Barbarossa. Giovanni said that the man had tried to conquer Italia, but had only succeeded in dividing it into constantly warring factions. While we were looking at the castle, a young man in some sort of livery came up to us and asked if I were the Mongol ambassador. I replied that I was, and he asked me to follow him. Giovanni urged me to agree since the man wore the livery of the emperor. We followed him into the castle and were ushered into an ornate, but cold and damp hall. My companions were asked to wait, and I was led into a small pleasant room with rich furnishings. Here I was introduced to the Emperor Maximilian.

He was dressed informally in black with gold trimming. He rose to greet me. He was about my height, but more massive in size. He had light brown hair down to his shoulders. His nose was large and hooked and he seemed rather jowly, with a protruding lower lip. He was perhaps ten years my junior, but I think he looked older than me. He was quiet and respectful and very solicitous. He had been told about my route and was desirous to meet me. He had heard about me from Espanya’s ambassador to his court. He understood that I had been with the army of Espanya in Napoles and asked me about the campaign. I told him about it, all the time feeling certain none of it was news to him. He asked me how I felt about the performance of the several armies I had seen in action. I told him that Gonzalo was the best leader I had seen in action and Ferrante the worst. The armies tended to reflect their leaders. He then asked if it was the same with the Mongol armies. I replied that the soldiers were always well trained and very skilled, but poor leadership often caused unnecessary casualties. He nodded thoughtfully.

He then asked me if I had heard the bad news from Espanya. I admitted that I had heard nothing. He said that Juan, the only son of Fernando and Isabella, had died of a fever about two weeks earlier. I remembered that he had just married the emperor’s daughter, Margarita, and asked if his daughter was well. He replied that she was and thanked me for asking. He added that she was with child so there was still some hope for a male heir. I told him I would like to send a letter of condolence to Fernando and Isabella and he assured me he would be honored to send it on for me. He pressed me to stay in the castle that evening and the next day he would take me along to see a demonstration of the training of a unit of landsknecht, his infantry formations. I had already seen them in action, but I agreed. He invited me to dine with him and had Conthagah and me shown to our rooms while Giovanni went with some of the imperial servants to get our things from the inn.

59
Frankfurt to Baden 129–30 K
(Germany, 1497–8)

Our rooms were pleasant, but hardly sumptuous, much to my liking. Giovanni soon returned with our things and made some remark about how only the Italianos knew how to live. I composed my letter of condolence to Fernando and Isabella. My grandfather wrote that the hardest thing he ever had to do was bury his children. Fortunately, I have not had that misfortune, and I earnestly hope I never will. I finished my letter, which I wrote in Latin, and sat back a while and thought about my son. I really missed him and hoped to see him soon. I wondered if he was safe and well.

My reverie was broken when I was called to dinner. We followed the attendant downstairs to a rather small dining room nearly filled by a large table. Places were set at only one end, and there were just five places set. To my surprise, the emperor had only one attendant with him, and the other three places were for my party. His attendant was his private secretary, a man named Joseph Grunpeck, not any kind of advisor. The emperor sat at the head of the table and had me seated to his right and Giovanni to his left. Conthagah was seated next to me and the emperor’s man next to Giovanni. Giovanni was flustered by the honor and had great difficulty saying anything. I was impressed by his lack of pretension.

“I must tell you, sire, you are the first sovereign to dine with me in this way. There have always been a multitude of attendants, requiring me to nearly shout to be heard.”

 

“Attendants can be useful, but they can also be a nuisance. If my reports about you were true, I thought you would prefer your room as you found it, and this meal as I have presented it.”

 

“The reports were correct. I have had an intimate meal with the Khakhan. It left me with the distinct impression that he did not need an army of attendants to convince him he was the ruler. Perhaps that is true of you.” “The difference would be that your Khakhan is indeed a ruler. I am little more than the first among equals. While I do rule my own lands absolutely, I am little more than a figurehead as emperor.”

 

“It is a curious thing, this empire of yours. Was it so designed intentionally?”

“It evolved this way. The first Holy Roman Emperor was Karl the Great. He ruled over France, the current empire and Italia. He was a ruler much like your Khakhan. When he died, his empire was split between his three grandsons, who all together were not half the man he was. Then slowly but surely the local lords assumed more power at the expense of the emperor, so the office is a mere shell of what it was initially. Still, every now and them, a strong man becomes emperor and wields some real power.”

“Like you?”

“Perhaps. I am trying to reorganize the empire to make it more efficient. But once my plans are formulated, I will have to present them to the seven electors for their approval. If they do not have the vision to accept my changes, I will have to be satisfied with only making them in my own lands.”

“I wish you well with your efforts.”

“Thank you. But now what of your Khakhan? Does he plan to treat us as equals, ally himself with us against the Turk, or invade and conquer us? Mongols very nearly did conquer us about three centuries ago. I’d like to think we could have stopped them, but the truth is they stopped on their own.”

“That’s true. They stopped because the Khan, Ogedai, died. It was the custom in those days for all the Mongols to gather to proclaim the next Khan. They stopped the invasion for that reason. They may have returned to the invasion had not the successor Khan, Kaidu, died after a short reign. After his death, there was quite a fight over succession. As to your other questions, I don’t know the Khan’s intentions. He has asked me to report as much as possible about Europa, but he has not advised me about his intentions. Our Khanate is still young, just over one hundred years. My grandfather was one of the founders and the first Khan of Anahuac. My uncle was the first Khan of the Clouds. We are still exploring our southern continent, where there is a vast jungle in the center. I suspect that will take us quite a while. It may be many generations before we turn our attention elsewhere. I know the old Mongols dreamt of reconquering the Hanjen, Cathay you call it, but they are all long gone and our attention is more inclined to be at home.”

“You sound like a true ambassador. Evade questions at all hazards. But to pursue, you seem most interested in matters military. Is that because you are a military man yourself, or were you ordered to check our defenses?”

“Actually, I am not evading your questions. I really don’t know the Khakhan’s intentions. While my relatives were rulers, my father was a healer and I have had a rather checkered career, which did include many years in the military. I was called out of exile when Colon was discovered, since I was the only person in the area who spoke Latin. I have been asked to assess the military of Europa, but that is only prudent since one of your countries might think to invade us. I can tell you that if any did, they would be quickly destroyed probably before they landed, and then their country would be reduced to rubble. Every man, woman, child, and animal would be killed and heaped in piles. It seems severe, but we have found it makes people think twice about attacking us.”
“And yet, aren’t you a Christian, and perhaps even, if I heard correctly, descended from a subject of the empire? You certainly look like one of us.”

“I think I am, technically, a Christian. We were all, in my family, given the ritual called baptism. My long-ago ancestors came from the area called the Black Forest. My fair complexion, however, is most likely a sheer coincidence. There was a colony of Ferengi, far western people, in the old Khanate, to them were added some other nearer western people who also were fair skinned. It happened that my ancestors married among these people, until my parents, both of whom married locals first. None of my siblings look anything like me. Whatever my ancestry, I have been raised a Mongol, and that is how I see myself.”

“And were you impressed by the armies of Europa?”
“No. We could brush them aside easily.”
“Really? Easily? How is that possible?”

“We have better weapons and superior tactics. We also have much larger armies which do not quit if they are not paid.”

 

“Amazing! How do you keep them without pay?”

“The people of the land are mostly much like the old Mongols. They revel in battle, anxious to cover themselves with glory. We had only to channel that natural inclination to our purposes. For many generations it has been considered an honor to go on campaign even if it takes a year to reach the battlefield. Of course, the men are clothed and fed on campaign, but are only paid when their time is over and they are ready to return home.”

“A year? Just how large is the Khanate? I have heard strange stories from Espanya. I think Colon reported some unbelievable size.”

“It is hard to say, but from what I have seen of your maps, all of Europa would fit four times into the Khanate of the Blue Sky. The Khanate of Anahuac is probably a little smaller than Europa. The other two Khanates are each likely twice the size of Europa.”

“It is really that large? Do you think your Khakhan would accept an ambassador from me?” “I will ask him. But the man would have to learn Mongol.”
“Of course.”
“Doesn’t Fernando send you Colon’s reports? I thought you were allies.”

“I get reports, but they are summaries. Allies don’t always tell each other everything, you know. But tell me, if another country had reached you before Espanya, would you have accepted their ambassador?”

“I don’t know. Much would depend on the demeanor of the explorers. I could not tell the Khakhan that Colon had claimed some of our islands for Espanya. If I had, he and his crew would have been executed for their temerity and we would likely have invaded Espanya. But I realized he had just made a severe blunder, the ramifications of which he could not have known.”

“That was most kind of you. Perhaps you are a Christian.”
“I felt sorry for him.”
“If it isn’t impertinent of me, you mentioned you were in exile when Colon arrived in the Khanate. Why?”

“My cousin, the current Khan of Anahuac blames me for his mother’s death. He wants me dead, but the Khakhans have always looked kindly on me and would only exile me.”

 

“Were you responsible for her death?”

“Indirectly, perhaps. She was an evil woman, an embarrassment to Khakhanate. I helped the Khakhan realize that.”
We chatted a little more about more mundane matters, then took our leave for the evening agreeing to meet in the morning for breakfast and then go out to review the landsknechts. I slept quite well for a change. I think it was because it was so quiet.

The next morning after a spare breakfast, we mounted up and rode north away from the river. We were accompanied by a troop of heavy cavalry. The emperor was dressed in an ornate black armor, much like the heavy cavalry wears. His horse was quite a bit larger than ours, but then it had a heavier load to bear. He asked why we did not wear armor. I replied that we sometimes did, but usually found it impractical. We passed the gate tower called Eschenheimer, and rode past some already harvested fields on either side of the road. We rode some distance on the road until we came to an encampment of neat rows of tents. There was a large open field beyond the encampment and there were the landsknechts.

They wore brightly colored clothes with large feathers in their hats. They carried the very tall halberds or pikes much like the Suizos, but they also had some men in the front rank of their formation that were armed with a very long two-handed sword. I was told they were better paid than the rest. They maneuvered around for us and certainly seemed well disciplined and could handle the awkward weapons with consummate skill. They were designed to stop cavalry, but I know our mounted archers would have easily wiped them out. Still, I politely congratulated the emperor on his innovation. Conthagah asked if he could handle one of the halberds. I passed along his request and the emperor agreed. Conthagah jumped off his horse and took the proffered weapon. He had no trouble handling it, much impressing our hosts. Giovanni could not even raise it off the ground, much to everyone’s amusement.

We had an execrable meal with the landsknechts and returned to the city. The emperor suggested that I accompany him down the Main River to the Rhine where I could continue on to Baden, unless I wished to go first to his court in Ghent. I demurred on the latter but agreed to go with him down the Main to the Rhine.

The next morning after a light breakfast, we went down to the riverfront where his boat was waiting for us. It was just a good solid boat, nothing fancy like The Bucintoro of Venetia, but it was big enough for the horses to stay belowdecks in relative comfort. As we pushed off from the shore and into the current, the river was full of small fishing boats anchored just out of the current along the banks of the river. The emperor told me we would be stopping at Maintz, a major city just at the confluence of the Main and the Rhine. It was ruled by a bishop on whom he would have to call. If I wished I could go with him to see the bishop, but if I preferred, he would see that I continued on my way and avoid the prelate. I assured him I would prefer that.

We arrived at Maintz late in the afternoon after a pleasant trip. The emperor stayed on deck with us since the sun was shinning and it wasn’t too cold that day. He pointed out various landmarks along the way. The only thing I remember was a mid-sized town named Wiesbaden, which apparently also has thermal baths. Actually Frankfurt had thermal baths, as did many of the other towns we had visited on the way to Frankfurt. It made me wonder what was so special about Baden. I asked the emperor that question and he assured me that Baden’s baths were the best. Besides, there was nothing else to the town besides the baths, except, perhaps, the scenery.

We tied up at the extensive river front quay, and the emperor sent his secretary to find us a ship heading upstream toward Baden. He bade us farewell and went ashore to visit the bishop. Joseph, the secretary, was soon back, and he led us down along the quay to a boat smaller than the emperor’s, but it appeared to be in good shape. He introduced us to the captain and told the man we were friends of the emperor. He proceeded to bow and scrape and led us to his best cabin. It wasn’t much, but it was adequate. He apologized profusely that the horses would have to be kept on deck, but promised to leave them ashore until we sailed the next morning. I thanked Joseph and once he left assured the captain that I intended to pay him well for his services. He tried to kiss my hand in gratitude. I hate the excessive subservience I have found in Europa.

The captain, himself, brought us our evening meal. Once again he apologized excessively for its simplicity. I had to reassure him that it was quite adequate. It was a sort of fish soup with a large piece of dark bread and some cheese. Once I put some of my dwindling supply of chili into the soup, it was rather good. The next morning, I found we had already left Maintz by the time I awakened. I went out on deck. It was chillier than it had been the day before and the sky was overcast. The horses were in a sort of rope pen near the stern and seemed a bit uneasy. The ship was being towed upriver by a team of draft horses on the shore, and if the wind was right it had a sail also. The wind was not right. It became obvious that we would have made better time riding ourselves, but I suppose there was no particular hurry.

The trip was endless. We made frequent stops to load and unload cargo and pay tolls. Finally, well into winter we arrived at a spot where a ferry would take us across the Rhine near the mouth of the Oos River, which would lead us to Baden. I thanked the captain and gave him a small bag of chili. He fell on his knees before me and again tried to kiss my hands. I only just restrained him. We gathered our horses and led them to the ferry. The ferry was little more than a large raft, which was pulled back and forth across the river by a heavy rope towed by the large horses. It had grown quite cold during our trip, and there was snow and ice in patches on the ground.

We eventually arrived on the eastern bank of the river and were pointed to the road to Baden. We soon came upon the Oos and followed it upstream along a parallel path for a short time and before long could just see a castle on the east bank of the Oos. Steep, wooded mountains blanketed with snow surrounded the valley of the Oos, and only looking up the river could you see anything ahead. We arrived at the outskirts the town finding it stretched out narrowly along both banks of the river. We quickly found an inn for the night. The innkeeper asked if we were here for the baths and I replied that we were. He explained that since we were obviously men of substance we should use the private baths rather than the public ones. He promised to have his boy lead us to the best one in the morning.

I asked Giovanni about this. He said that the public baths were for the common folk and were usually quite crowded and tended to get fouled. He also thought we should go to the private one. He said it would be inside a building rather than in the open, so it would not be so drafty when we got out. Conthagah and I glanced at each other. We had both gone from steam or thermal bath to cold water most of our lives. The dinner at the inn was ghastly, just barely salvaged by my chili.

The next morning, after a wretched breakfast, the rather stolid and taciturn son of our innkeeper duly led us to a private bath. From the smell of him, he should have tarried in the baths himself. Once inside the building, it was rather warm. We were led to the bath which was a pool built up around a hot spring. In the pool were naked or virtually naked men and women separated by a sort of grill punctuated by windows so they could converse or stare at each other. Above the bath was an actual gallery where some men were sitting watching the bathers and chatting among themselves. Considering how overly modest these Europeos are, I was rather puzzled by this display.

While Giovanni quickly stripped down to his undergarment and stepped into the bath, I inquired of the attendant where the cold bath was. He replied that there wasn’t one. I asked if the river was nearby. He pointed out the door through which I could reach it. I thanked him, and Conthagah and I stripped down and went into the bath. It seemed quite hot and rather salty, from the heaviness of it. We kept to ourselves and were not disturbed. After a suitable time, Conthagah and I got out of the bath and went out the door leading to the river. We trotted down to the river and jumped in, immersing ourselves completely. We got back out and returned to the bath to reclaim our clothes. Giovanni was engaged in trying to charm some young ladies and had not noticed that we had gone. I called to him and told him to enjoy himself, we were going to look about the town and would see him back at the inn in the evening.

Conthagah and I wandered about the town. The emperor was right, there was nothing in the town but the baths and the scenery. We reached the public baths. They were much larger than the private, but I noticed there were few people in them and the water looked just as clean as the private baths. I suppose if it hadn’t been so cold there would have been more people in the bath. Of course there were also far fewer voyeurs sitting about. We walked to the end of the town noticing the dark dense forest ahead from which someone was emerging and we turned and started back.

“You two don’t exactly blend in, do you?” someone said to us in Mongol.

We turned around and saw that the person emerging from the forest was a young man with a beard who looked just like a local. I peered at him carefully. “John?”
“Agidodah. If even you barely recognize me, I must be well disguised.” He extended his arms and we embraced.

“Very well. Conthagah, this is my son John. John, this is Conthagah, my aide. What were you doing in that forest?”

“I have something to show you in there. What did you think of the baths?”
“The water seemed heavier than ours, and we had to trot some distance to the river to cool off.” “Yes. And I suspect none of the other bathers followed you.”
“No, they didn’t. Why are you dressed like a local?”

“Ever since I arrived here I have had to blend in. These people are very superstitious. They think my healing is witchcraft. I have had to change my appearance and learn the local dialects along the way. I am pretending to be a merchant from the Eskualdunac now, so I don’t have to be fluent in the dialects. It saves time.”

“But why did you come here? And why did you bring me here? Do you think I need the baths?” “You remember Luis, don’t you?”
“Of course. I’m surprised you remember him.”
“I tend to remember things. Anyway, I came to Europa to visit him.”
“But why?”
“It was necessary, Agi’tsi-i told me to go. She told me I would find the perfect wife among his relatives.” “And did you?”
“Yes. Her name is Maria. She is a niece of Luis’ wife. We were married last summer.”
“Is she with you? I would love to meet her.”

“I couldn’t bring her. I knew she was with child by fall and after my alarming excursions into Espanya and La France, I decided it wasn’t safe to bring her with me.”

“What happened?”
“As I said, these are very superstitious people. They tried to burn me as a witch, or more properly a warlock.” “How did you get away?”
“You know I have my ways.”
“Yes, I have heard. Now, why are we here?”
“Do you know what that forest back there is called?”
“No. Does it have a name?”
“It is the Black Forest. This is the town in which our ancestors first lived when they left the forest.” “Really? I didn’t think it was mentioned in Grandfather’s journal.”

“It wasn’t. But I also found the village from which they originally came. Or, I should say, the site of the village. I thought you might like to see it.”

“I know better than to ask you how you know that. But was this trip worth the risks you have taken to get here?” “Yes. I had to see you again. I had to be with you at this time. You will soon understand why.” “Well, in any case. I am delighted to see you again and I have thought of you often.”

“I know. And I have thought of you. What a perfect father you were—never considering me a burden, taking me with you everywhere, accepting me the way I was, and most important, willing to let me go and find my own destiny.”
“Son, you were never a burden. You never complained, got into mischief, or gave me any reason to reproach you. You even led me into the spirit world where I could visit your mother. As to letting you go, I always thought my time with you was borrowed and I accepted as much as was allotted me.”

“Where are you staying?”
“We’re at an inn near the northern edge of the town. What about you?”
“My inn is nearby. Come join me for what passes for a midday meal around here.”

We walked to John’s inn. It was larger than ours, and perhaps a little nicer, but the food was just as vile. Fortunately, John had brought along chili and liberally laced the food for us. It turned out that he had brought along several large bags of dried chili and that was what he was selling as a merchant.

“You wouldn’t believe how many times people have tried to rob me.” He laughed. “The poor things never knew what hit them. I hope it reformed them. I think preying on other people is detestable.”

 

“So, you have acquired some of Ayun’ini’s skills. Whatever became of him?”

 

“Some years ago, he told us that he had taught us all he could and we should go our separate ways and teach others what we had learned. Then he disappeared into the mountains in the west.”

“The west? I thought you were in the east.”
“We stayed a long time in the east, but then moved slowly west.”
“And did you learn all you could from him?”
“Almost. I never quite learned his joy.”
“Perhaps you are more aware than he was.”
“No. He was more detached than I am. It was his greatest strength. I am still working on it.” “Detached? You mean indifferent?”

“Oh no, not indifferent. Detached means you are not affected by what is around you, but you still are aware of it and help when you can. That’s the way he was. There was never any anger or resentment in him. He was always at peace and always involved.”

“I think I see.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Conthagah interjected.
“It is not important,” John replied. “And what does our Hotcangara warrior think of Europa?” “I detest it. But I very much enjoy the company of your father, and am honored by his trust.” “And I am honored to have you as a friend,” I added.

After we finished our meal, we went to John’s room and chatted away the rest of the afternoon. He wanted to know of our adventures and we asked about things back home and his adventures in Europa. He had been to the court of the Khakhan but had not noticed much since it didn’t interest him. He had cured one of the Khakhan’s children, for which he was most grateful. He was vague about his adventures in Europa, probably so I wouldn’t worry about him. The truth is I never had to worry about him, but, of course, I did. As it grew dark, he accompanied us to our inn, and when we arrived, he told us to meet him the next morning at his inn and he would take us to the ancestral village.

We entered the inn and sat down to supper. Giovanni soon joined us. He was a bit depressed since he had no success with the young ladies. He was certain that it was because he was not as well dressed as the other young men. I pointed out that no one was dressed in the bath. But he insisted that they had all noticed him undress and so knew that he was not wealthy. I told him we had met my son and he was taking us into the forest to show us something. There was no need for him to join us if he wanted to try another bath. He just barely remembered to ask if I was sure I wouldn’t need him. I told Conthagah he could stay behind if he wanted, but he was looking forward to a walk in the forest.

“There might be game or even better, brigands.” He almost smiled.

The next morning we joined John and he led us into the woods along a well-worn path. It was rather cold and the sky was leaden, but it was not snowing, and there was little snow in the woods. John said that it would not snow until the next day. We rode at a good pace for some distance, and then late in the morning, we turned aside along a very vague path away from the Oos River along a stream into the mountains. After picking our way along this path for a short distance, we had to dismount and lead the horses. Finally we reached a spot in no way distinguishable from the rest of the forest. John told us that this was the site of our ancestors’ village. There had been at most a dozen houses here all made of wood. He pointed out a few piles of stones, which he said were the hearths and he showed us one pile, which he said was that of our ancestor.

He went on to say that the ancestor’s family had fled here from Baden when a tribe called the Alemani destroyed the city. They survived here in the woods for centuries, until our ancestor left to return to Baden. He worked as a wood carver for a monastery that owned the area. This was in the time of the Franks.

I asked that since they had originally lived in Baden, was Grandfather’s assertion that our ancestor who had crawled out of the forest was a half wild primitive perhaps off the mark. But he said that the centuries of isolation in the woods had greatly reduced the sophistication of his people and he would have seemed rather primitive to the people rebuilding the town to support the monastery. Indeed, if he hadn’t been such a skilled wood carver, he would have been chased back into the woods.

Since he seemed to know so much about the subject, I asked to what tribe our ancestors originally belonged. He smiled and said that if one goes back far enough into our ancestry we would find many tribes, but most of them would be various Celto and Aleman tribes. I wondered how far back he could go. He reminded me that the further back you go, the more ancestors you have. I asked if they were always named Waldman. He said no, that name did originate with the first Karl, just as Grandfather had said. Before that, there was no surname.

After a while, John said that we should return so we wouldn’t be getting back after dark. As we returned I thought about the first Karl leaving all he knew to start a new life in what was for him a new world. Then I thought of how the other Karls had done the same thing. Until me, that is. I really hadn’t done much of anything accept return to our starting point. As we reached the town just after dusk, John insisted that we move into his inn. I felt rather tired, so he insisted that I stay in his room while he and Conthagah went to the other inn to gather our things and Giovanni.

I am tired, but can’t sleep so I brought my journal up to date while waiting for John. I feel a sort of heaviness in my chest. Perhaps, I’ve caught that respiratory ailment so prevalent here. Still, I’m not coughing or sneezing and don’t have a fever. I suppose I should stop writing and lie down for a while.

I see that Agidodah has maintained his journal. Conthagah has given me the rest of it and I will put it with the part he sent me long ago. But first I will finish it for him. When I got back to him that night he was very weak. I told Giovanni that he was dying and he could return home if he wished, but he wanted to stay. Agidodah lasted another day, then died that evening holding my hand. He had a wonderful smile on his face when he died and his last word was “Carlotta.” I know he is with Agi’tsi-i now for I have seen them together. They are both so happy it fills my heart. I sent Giovanni home with a letter to his sovereign assuring that he had honorably served the ambassador and earned his gratitude. I sent with him also a letter to King Fernando explaining the death of the ambassador to his court and another letter to the Khakhan explaining the natural death of his ambassador and telling him that I would return home with Conthagah as soon as possible. I hope he doesn’t need me for anything else. Finally, Conthagah and I took Agidodah’s body with us and left Baden. We crossed the Rhine and continued on into La France until we reached the Garonne River.

I bought a large pile of wood and laid it on a large stone along the shore. I had seen this spot on my way to meet Agidodah, and I knew it was perfect. I placed his body on the pyre and set it ablaze. A gentle breeze rose up and fanned the flames. When it had burned down to ashes, Conthagah and I gathered them and poured them into the river where they would wash out into the Eastern Sea and join Agi’tsi-i and together sail the sea forever. When we finished, Conthagah returned with me to the Eskualdunac province of Donostia where my wife was waiting for me. As soon as she is delivered of our son who we will name Karl or Carlos, as she pronounces it, we will return home, back where we belong. I will keep this book for my son to read. Perhaps he will one day take up the narrative.

Appendix 1
Dramatis Personae
Book 2

Acapipioltzin—older natural son of Nezahualcoyotl, served as regent for Nezahualpili. A historical figure who serves the same role in the book.

Ah Chel—Maya—grizzled veteran Karl meets in Yucatan and again while on campaign.
Ah Poot—Maya—fisherman and philosopher Karl meets in Cozumel on way to his first campaign. Ah Tutal—Maya—commander of the jagun in which Karl served during his first campaign. Aju—(b. 1452) eldest son of Karl’s sister Mathilde and Aspenquid.

Alcolmiztli—former head of Khan Henry of Anahuac’s Palace Guard who runs a training school for army recruits.

Amana—Taino—aunt of Behechio sent by him to care for Karl during his third exile.
Arneekwes—Leni lenape (Delaware)—merchant who knows Karl’s mystery girl and helps him find her. Asgaya’Galu’ladi—name of Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) creator god.
Aspenquid—(d. 1485) Pesmokanti (Passamaquoddy) husband of Mathilde, Karl’s half-sister, (d. 1486). Ayun’ini—wandering mystic who becomes a teacher for Karl’s son John.
Azcalxochitzin—wife of Nezahualcoyotl.
Aztahua—Texcallan yam keeper who connects Karl with the Mexica revolutionaries.
Ba-ahnoce—Inuna-ina (Arapaho) wife of George the Smith.
Baidar—commander of the Ocelotl Ordu during the Tenocha Revolt.
Balam—nom de guerre of Huaxteca rebel leader who captures Karl.
Beedut—successor of Watomika as governor of Northeast Province.

Behechio—Taino Cacique in Western Boriquen (Puerto Rico) whose life Karl saves and who later repays the debt.

Berke—youngest son of Kujujuk, lived like a hermit in the west.
Bisdah—Kadohadacho (Caddo) second commander of Karl’s tumen during his first campaign. Buzun—high-ranking officer during Karl’s second campaign.
Carlos Ausarti—Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy (1467–77).
Carlotta—Karl’s mystery girl and one true love (1443–74).
Cautantowit—name of the Wampanoag God.

Chabi—wife of Khan George II of Anahuac, daughter of Khakhan Kujujuk, mother of Khan John II of Anahuac, (d.1476).

 

Chalchiuhtona—Alcolhua—wife of Khan Henry of Anahuac, sister of Nezahualcoyotl, mother of Khan George and Theodore.

Charles VIII—king of France, (r. 1483–98).
Chen Huan—Chinese—shipbuilder who builds Kujujuk’s fleet.
Chimalpopoca—third Tlatoani (Speaker) of Tenochtitlan.
Chipilotl—daughter of Karl’s sister Sarah, (b.1450).
Chowa—Governor of the Taino and Lucayo Islands.

Chumuncaur—Chimu—son of Minchancaman. He is made governor of the Chimu under the Khanate of the Clouds.

 

Cimnashote—Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) “brother” of Karl, son of Iskagua and Ghigooie, Karl’s guardians in Itsati. He becomes a soldier rising through the ranks to Ordu commander.

 

Citlalcoatl—grandson of Smoking Mirror, also Governor of the Maya (1404-60). He was a cousin of Metztlaconac.

Conthagah—Hotcangara (Chiwere Sioux) escort for Karl in Europe.
Cosa, Juan de la—Basque officer on Columbus’ expedition.
Crow—nickname of Karl, author of Book 2, grandson of Karl the Raven, author of Book 1, (1440-98). Cuauhcoatl—Speaker of Cuauhnahuac, husband of Christina, Khan Henry’s daughter.
Cuauhpopoca—commander of the training Ordu in the Khanate of the Clouds during Karl’s first campaign. Cuauhtzin—blue and gold macaw, pet of Karl, the Crow.

Dehahuit—advisor to Henry during Karl’s first campaign. He actually commanded the campaign and was despised by Henry.

Deus—Latin word for God.
Dominus—Latin word for “The Lord.”
Egwani—Ani’ Yun’-wiya girl who Karl encounters in the Shenandoah Valley.
’Enri—son of Leo, youngest son of Mathilde and Seagull (b. 1438).
Esaugetu Emissee—Kofitachiki (Creek) name for God.

Fernandez de Cordoba, Gonzalo—Spanish—Great Spanish military leader during the Italian campaigns. A historical figure who becomes a friend of Karl in the book.

 

Fernando (Ferdinand) of Aragon—joint ruler of Spain with Isabella of Castile (1479–1504)—regent of Castile and king of Aragon (1504–16).

Ferrante II—king of Naples (r. 1495–8).
Ganook—‘Lingit—shaman, brother of Kudeitsaakw.

Gatagewi—Ani’ Yun’-wiya older son of Iskagua and Ghigooie. He becomes a shaman like his father and succeeds him as shaman of Itsati.

George—(1407–70) son of Theodore and second Khan of the Clouds—(r. 1453–70).
George (the smith)—great-grandson of Henry, Karl the Raven’s brother.
George II—Khan of Anahuac (r.1460-8).”

Ghigao—name Cimnashote gave to a Tamoyo girl he met and with whom he fell in love while on campaign in the Khanate of the Green Mist.

Ghigooie—Ani’ Yun’-wiya wife of Iskagua.
Goa—Coosa (Creek) wife of Karl’s half brother Ignace, (d. 1473).
Gualchovang—principle goddess of the Tairona.

Hayjaay—Hotcangara (Chiwere Sioux)—commander of the Maya Tumen in which Karl served during his first campaign.

Henry—third Khan of the Clouds, commander of Karls first campaign, (1430–95, r. 1470–95). Hiacoomes—Wampanoag—merchant great-grandfather of Karl’s mystery girl, Carlotta.
Hutulu—grandson of Juchi, second Khan of the Green Mist (r.1426–35).
Icpitl—son of Karl’s sister Sarah, (b. 1453).
Ignace—oldest son of Theodore, first Khan of the Clouds. He was killed by a poison dart while on campaign. Ignace—oldest son of Karl’s father by Metztlaconac, (1421–73).
Ignace–second son of Khan George of the Clouds, (1433–81).
Isabella—queen of Castile (1474–1504), joint ruler of Spain (1479–1504).

Iskagua—Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) shaman of Itsati, guardian of Karl for much of his youth. He was a nephew of Karl’s father’s first wife, Metztlaconac)

Iztacyochitl—son of Karl’s sister Sarah, (b.1456).
Jimenez de Cisneros, Francisco—Spanish—Franciscan priest, confessor of Queen Isabella. A historical figure. John—son of Karl’s sister Sarah, (b.1458).
John II—sixth Khan of Anahuac, son of Khan George II and Chabi, (b. 1467).
John—son of Karl, the Crow and Carlotta, (b. 1474).
Kababonkaug-g—Anishinabe (Chippewa)—the north or winter sky.
Kineu—shadowy agent of the Khakhan who leads Karl to the St. Lawrence River.
Kiskap—Siksika—trapper and kinsman of Karl the Crow in Kuriltaibalikh.
Klah—Thilanottine—guide who leads Karl out of the Khakhanate into the north during his second exile. Kudeitsaakw—‘Lingit—wife of Karl’s half brother Sealth.
Kujujuk—sixth Khan and third Khakhan of the Blue Sky, (r.1457–84).

Llapchillulli—Chimu—interpreter assigned to Karl’s jagun after the conquest of his people during Karl’s first campaign.

Luis—young Basque fisherman who speaks Latin and becomes the agent of the Khakhan in Europe. Macon—Taino—uncle of Behechio sent to take care of Karl during his third exile.
Mahwissa—Dzitsiista (Cheyenne) wife of Theodore, Karl’s half brother.
Mathilde—daughter of Karl’s mother and her first husband, (1431–85).
Maximilian—Holy Roman Emperor, (1493–1519).

Minchançaman—king of Chimu at the time of Karl’s first campaign. A historical figure who was actually conquered by the Inca.

 

Mocteuzoma—fifth Tlatoani (Speaker) of Tenochtitlan. A historical figure quite revered in Aztec history. In the book his fate is a bit different.

 

Napi—Siksika (Blackfoot)—“Old Man” the creator god.

 

Naymlap—legendary ancestor of pre-Chimu dynasty along Lambayeque River, which is said to have arrived on rafts.

Necowee—Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) brother of Ghigooe, who tells Karl about campaigning in The Clouds. Nezahualcoyotl—Speaker (Ruler) to Texcoco. A historical figure most distinguished in Aztec history. In the book he has an important role to play as well.

Nezahualpili—youngest son of Nezahualcoyotl, succeeds him as Speaker of Texcoco. A historical figure also distinguished in Aztec history much like his father.

Ngenechen—name of Re Che God.
Nunne Hi—spirit people of Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) myth.

Oganaya—Ani’ Yun’-wiya old soldier who regales the young Karl with tales of his campaigns and has an unfortunate influence on him.

Oztooa—Tenocha—sandal merchant in Tlatelolco who is Karl’s contact among the rebels. Pachacamac—creator god of the people along the Peruvian Coast.

Pachacutec—the Inka reigning at the time of Karl’s first campaign. A historical figure who greatly expanded the Inka Empire.

Paula—daughter of Mathilde and Aspenquid, (b. 1454).
Paula—daughter of Ignace, brother of Khan Henry of The Clouds, marries Khan John II of Anahuac (b.1464). Qualiameyatl—Chalco teacher who taught Karl Nahual and Maya writing.
Sacook—Leni lenape—son of Watomika, mapper in South America.
Sarah—daughter of Karl’s father by Metztlaconac, 1423–74).
Sealth—oldest son of Karl’s mother by her first husband, (1421–80).
Sejong—king of Chosin (Korea) (1418–50).
Selu—earth mother goddess of the Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee).
Silpitocle—Kakan—serves as spy for Karl during Re Che Campaign.
Simahi—A’palachi—wife of Karl’s half brother Taiwit, (d.1472).
Suchix—Mixteca—commander of the minghan in which Karl served during his first campaign. Suyeta—Ani’ Yun’-wiya—wife of Gatagewi, serves as wet nurse for Karl’s son John.
Taiwit—second son of Karl’s mother by her first husband, (1425–71).
Tatevari—Sun god of the Ralamari.
Tepeyolotl—Chalca merchant who marries Karl’s half-sister Sarah, (d.1473).
Tes Disora—Ralamari young man Karl finds and helps near Cuauhnahuac.
Tetl—Otomi servant of Karl’s household in Cuauhnahuac (Cuernavaca).
Teypachtli—daughter of Karl’s sister Sarah, (b. 1448).
Theodore—second son of Karl’s father and Metztlaconac, (1425–86).
Theodore–second son of Khan Henry of Anahuac (b.1440).

Tlacaelel—half-brother of Mocteuzoma and Snake Woman (High Priest) of Tenochtitlan. A sinister historical figure in Aztec history, he meets a rather sinister fate in the book.

Tlapac—great-grandson of Smoking Mirror, son of Citlalcoatl, (b. 1437).
Tlauquechol—head of Palace Guard in Tlatelolco.
Tloque Nahuaque—Toltec god who is non-corporeal.
Toragana—younger son of Khakhan Kujujuk.
Waikiyaf—Re Che—war chief during the campaign.
Watomika—Leni lenape (Delaware) first Governor of the Northeast Province of the Khakhanate. Wiracocha—name of Inka sun god.
Wodziwob—Nuwu (South Piute) shaman who intercepts Karl and warns him of a trap.
Woey—widow Cimnashote marries when he returns to Itsati after the Re Che Campaign.

Wzokhilain—Pesmokanti (Passamaquoddy) nephew of Aspenquid, with whom Little Carlotta goes to live for a few years.

 

Yunwi Tsunsdi—little woodland people of Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) myth.

 

Zheng He—Chinese admiral of the “Treasure Fleet” that traveled all the way to the West African coast during the early Ming Dynasty.

 

Zhu Di—Ming emperor of China (r. 1402–24). Ordered Zhen He’s expedition.

 

Zhu Zhanji—Ming emperor of China (r.1425–35). Ended the naval expeditions and began the ruinous isolationist policy.

Appendix 2
Glossary
Book 2
acali—(Nahual)—name of small boat used to fish on Lake Texcoco
agidodah—(Cherokee)—father
agidu’tsi—(Cherokee)—uncle
agilisi—(Cherokee)—grandmother
agit’tsi-i—(Cherokee)—mother
agoli—(Cherokee)—perch (the fish)
aillo—(Quechua)—bolo
Aitasaindutza—(Basque)—the papacy
Aitasantu—(Basque)—pope
ajo—(Spanish)—garlic
almirante—(Spanish)—admiral
anana—(Taino)—banana
arsenale—(Italian)—arsenal
atun—(Spanish)—tuna
auto da fe—(Spanish) public punishments during the Inquisition
-balikh—(Mongol)—suffix for city
bao chuan—(Chinese)—treasure boat
batatas—(Taino)—sweet potatoes
bohio—(Taino)—large house of the chieftain
boniata—(Taino)—sweet yucca (a tuber)
Bucintoro—(Italian)—name of the doge of Venice’s barge
cabuya—(Muisca)—plant, its fibers were used to make hats
cactli—(Nahual)—sandals
calmecac—(Nahual)—school for upper-class Aztecs
calpa—(Quechua)—ceremony reading entrails of a llama to predict the future
camohtli—(Nahual)—sweet potatoes
caney—(Taino)—type of hut in which the Taino lived
chilan—(Maya)—seer
centli—(Nahual)—corn (maize)
chiconcuetzalin—(Nahual)—blue and gold macaw

chungke—skill game among Southeastern Indians in which they tried to hit a rolling disc-shaped stone with a lance

chun~o—(Yunga)—potatoes
conuco—(Taino)—field of mounds on which the Taino cultivated manioc
cuauhmecaezotl—(Nahual)—vanilla bean
cuetzpalin—(Nahual)—iguana
cuntur—(Quechua)—condor
ector—(Taino)—corn (maize)
Eskualdunac—(Basque)—their name for themselves
espingarderos—(Spanish)—harquebusiers
etl—(Nahual)—beans
Euskera—(Basque)—their name for their language
fuchuan—(Chinese)—Fuchai’s boat
galera—(Spanish)—galley (boat propelled by oarsmen)
gerege—(Mongol)—tablet of authority from the Khan
gongchuan—(Chinese)—supply ship
guama—(Taino)—village headman
guayava—(Taino)—guava (fruit)
higuaca—(Taino)—Puerto Rican Amazon (parrot)
huehxolotl—(Nahual)—turkey
huinca—(Mapuche)—foreigner
jinete—(Spanish)—light cavalry
Jin-pen—(Chinese)—word for Japan
kaseke—(Taino)—chieftain of a province
kheree—(Mongol)—crow
koga—(Cherokee)—crow
kotsune—(Cherokee)—sycamore
kvtli—(Cherokee)—raccoon
lama—(Quechua)—llama
la’o—(Chinese)—tuberculosis
legua—(Spanish)—league—about three miles
li—(Chinese) distance measurement (about 1/3 mile)
Mairu—(Basque)—Moor
machi—(Mapuche)—shaman
machuan—(Chinese)—horse boat
makailo—(Basque)—cod (the fish)
mapachin—(Nahual)—raccoon
marmol—(Spanish)—marble
Martxoa—(Basque)—March (the month)
matzahtli—(Nahual)—banana
metate—(Nahual)—flat stone used for grinding corn
mosaico—(Spanish)—mosaics
Musulman—(Basque)—Moslem
nacatamalli—(Nahual)—tamale
naipes—(Yunga)—small flat copper pieces used as “coins” by the Chimu oca—(Yunga)—sweet potato
oliva—(Spanish)—olive
orlok—(Mongol)—governor or Ordu commander
p’ai-tse—(Chinese)—gerege
ponokamita—(Siksika)—horse (literally “elk-dog”)
papa—(Quechua)—potatoes
pehuen—(Mapuche)—Chilean pine or Monkey Puzzle Tree
puna—(Quechua)—high dry grassland
puya—(Quechua)—century plant
Quechua—language of the Inka and many other tribes in the mountains of Peru quetzalitzli—(Nahual)—emeralds
rongyun—(Chinese)—troop transport
ruka—(Mapuche)—type of house in which the Re Che lived
shachuan—(Chinese)—sand boat
siquutsets—(Cherokee)—opossum
tecuancoatl—(Nahual)—rattlesnake
teoxihuitl—(Nahual)—turquoise
tezontli—(Nahual)—porous red volcanic rock used for building tlacaztali—(Nahual)—albino
tlachtli—(Nahual)—Meso-American ball game
tlaxcalli (Nahual)—tortilla
tomatl—(Nahual)—tomato
tupi—(Tupian) toucan
Uillac Uma—(Quechua)—high priest
utso’nati—(Cherokee)—rattlesnake
virrey—(Spanish)—viceroy
woorari—(Arawakan)—arrow poison, source of curare
yek—(Tlingit)—name for a spirit helper used by a shaman to contact the spirit world
yoce—(Taino)—manioc plant
Yunga—language of the Chimu
Appendix 3
Tribal Names

In the book I have tried to use the names the various Aboriginal American tribes actually called themselves. This is not always possible since some of the names have been lost and many of the tribes referred to themselves by the name of their village or current chief. Most of the names we have grown familiar with were corruptions of the (often unflattering) name used for a tribe by a neighboring tribe. I have taken some liberties with some of the names, but the following list should help clear up any confusion. There is no unanimity of opinion as to where these tribes were in the late 14th century, but I have placed them based on the best information I could glean combined with a bit of speculation based partially on legendary native movements and partially on where they were at first contact. The Aboriginal Americans were not a static people, but migrated to a greater or lesser degree for a variety of reasons. It should also be pointed out that there was a massive die-off in the southeastern U.S. after the incursions of several Spanish expeditions (Pardo, Narvaez, de Leon, and De Soto) because of the diseases they brought with them. This greatly changed the native people of that area making it rather speculative as to what they were really like at the time of the book. As to the Asian tribes, where possible I have used the names they called themselves, but where that was not available I have used the name we now have for them.

A’-a’ tam—the Piman tribes of the Uto-Aztecan language family. This would include the Pima and Papago. I have placed them from the lower Salt and middle Gila rivers in Arizona south to the west coast of the Sea of Cortez north of the Yaqui River. They were an agricultural people that originally lived in Pueblos.

Abenaki—generic name used by the Algonquin-speaking tribes to identify those of their people that lived along the New England coast.

 

Absaroke (Crows)—a Siouan people who split off from the Hidatsa and were at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers at the time of Book I.

 

Akawai—a Cariban-speaking tribe (Acawai) found inland from the Locono from eastern Venezuela to eastern Guyana.

 

Acuera—a Timacua tribe, which I place in central Florida between the Oklawaha and St. John’s rivers. Ahitchita—a Muskhogean tribe (Hitchiti) originally living around a town by the same name on the Chattahoochee River in Western Georgia. The remnant of the tribe became part of the Lower Creeks. Ainu—a Paleo-Asiatic people that are the original inhabitants of the Japanese island of Hokkaido and also Sakhalin Island to the north. At the time of the books they were still in power on their islands. Ais—a Timacua tribe, which I place on the east coast of Florida roughly between Melbourne and Fort Pierce. Alba ayamule—a Creek town near Montgomery, Alabama, whose survivors are sometimes called the Alabama. In the first book the town controls most of southern Alabama.

Alcolhua—An Oto-Manguean people that lived on the eastern side of Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico and had Texcoco as their capitol. At the time of the books they were still a power. Historically they were conquered by the Tepanecas and then joined the Mexica in overthrowing the Tepaneca and forming the Triple Alliance that became the Aztecs.

Algonquin—a language group of tribes found along the east coast from North Carolina to Newfoundland and inland to the Rockies in Canada but only in a narrow band along the U.S. coast, including all of Delaware, New Jersey, and New England and Eastern North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. In general they were of hunter-gatherer inclination, although the more southern groups all raised crops and tended to be fairly sedentary. Their tribal organization tended to be loose and their society fairly egalitarian.

Alnanbai—an Algonquin-speaking tribe (Abnaki) that lived in the western Maine valleys of the Kennebec, Androscoggin, and Saco rivers.

Alsi—a Yakonan tribe (Alsea) that lived along the Alsea River on the Oregon Coast.
Altamaha—a town in Central Georgia along the lower Ocmulgee River. It was likely the chief Yamasee town.

Amani yukhan—a Siouan people who ultimately became the Virginia Sioux tribes (Manahoac, Monacan, Moneton, Nahyssan, Occaneechi, Saponi, and Tutelo). At the time of the books, I place them in the upper Ohio Valley from near Cincinnati to near Pittsburgh. This would make them neighbors of the Dhegiba Sioux and would place their migration east later than some authorities maintain.

Anishinabe—an Algonquian tribe (Chippewa) who lived around Lake Superior especially on the northwestern and southern shores in Ontario, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Ani’ Yun’-wiya—an Iroquoian tribe (Cherokee) whom I place in the Southern Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains and the surrounding Piedmont from the New to the Hiawassee rivers. This is a little north of their position at first contact. In Book II they spread east and south.

An’kalym—a part of the Paleo-Asiatic people (Chuckchi) that lived on the Chuckchi Peninsula in Northeastern Siberia. This was the group that lived off the sea rather than by herding reindeer.

 

A’palachi—a Timacua tribe (Appalachee) whom I place on the lower Apalachicola and Ochlockonee rivers. A’shiwi—a Pueblo people (Zuni) that I place along a narrow band from the Tomochic River in Western Chihuahua to the area around Flagstaff, Arizona.

 

Atavillo—a tribe of unknown language that lived in the upper Rimac Valley in southern Peru.

Athabaskan—a language group of tribes that at contact was found mostly on the northwest corner of the North American continent (Alaska and Central West Canada), except for the coast. There were also isolated tribes in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California as well as the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. At the time of the first book, only the last group (northern Mexico) is not in place, but is on its way.

Atirhagenrat—an Iroquoian tribe (Neutrals) that I place on both shores of the eastern end of Lake Erie. This is somewhat east of their location at contact.

 

Aymara—language group spoken by twelve related tribes that lived on the high plain around Lake Titicaca in southern Peru and northern Bolivia. In the books it is the name given to all of these tribes.

Ayrate—the Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) dialect that predominated in the eastern piedmont area of the southern Appalachians from north central Georgia to north central North Carolina. The dialects were quite different, but just mutually intelligible.

Awenro’ron’non—an Iroquoian tribe (Wenrohronon) that I place along the upper Allegheny River in northwest Pennsylvania. This is well south of their contact location.
Ayawak’a—Quechua name for the tribe living south of the Calua in northern Peru. It is uncertain what they called themselves. The name means “shrine of the corpse.”

Ben Zah—an Oto-Manguean tribe (Zapotecs) that lived in most of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. They are an old civilization that had been invaded by the Mixtecs first and later by the Aztecs. At contact they still controlled the southern half of their land.

Beothuk—the now-extinct tribe that lived on Newfoundland. They and their language appear unrelated to their neighbors.

 

Bi’ Ixula—a Wakashan tribe (Bellacoola) living around the area of King Island in western British Columbia.

Borum—a tribe (Botocudo) that lived originally inland in the mountains of southeastern Brazil but moved to the coast to raid. They were very warlike attacking all their neighbors and eventually the Portuguese settlers. In the books they are along the coast south of Rio de Janeiro.

Caddoan—a language family that lived from the Red River in Louisiana to the Kansas River in Kansas including much of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma and parts of Texas and Kansas. They were a sedentary and agricultural people of varying degrees of social stratification and religious complexity. Many of them engaged in human sacrifice.

Calua—small tribe (Calva) of uncertain language that lived in northern Peru around the modern city of Suyo. Calusa—the tribe of no certain linguistic affinity that lived in the Everglades of south Florida and in the Keys.

Canari—a tribe that lived in southwest Ecuador on the coast and inland from the Gulf of Guayaquil in the area of Cuenca. Their language was not preserved and their descendants speak Quechua.

 

Casca-yunga—tribe that lived south of the Chacha on the upper Maranon River near the Chillao. Catlo’ltx—a Salishian tribe (Comox) living along the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, between the Puntlatch and Kwakiutl.

 

Cayapo—a large Ge tribe living in the Mato Grosso area of southeastern Brazil in the southern part of the state of Goias, the western part of the state of Minas Gerais and the northern part of the state of Sao Paolo. Chacha—a tribe (Chachapoya) living on the middle Maranon River Valley. They were said to have unusually light skin.

 

Chahiksichahiks—a Caddoan tribe (Pawnee) whom I place in eastern Nebraska and Kansas along the North Loup, middle Platte, Republican, Smoky Hill and Kansas rivers.

Chalca—a city state in the Valley of Mexico at the southeastern end of the original lake. It was thought to be ruled by descendants of the Toltecs. At the time of the first book it was allied with Huexotzinco and being attacked by the Tepaneca. At contact it was ruled by the Aztecs.

Chango—the Atacama people that lived in isolated villages along the Chilean coast from the Atacama Desert to perhaps as far as the Maule River. They spoke a dialect that might be related to Kakan.

Charrua—a Chana-speaking people that lived in all of modern Uruguay as well as parts of bordering Brazil and Argentina. At some point they were split into five subtribes, the Yaro, the Guenoa, the Bohane, the Minuan and the Charrua.

Chavchuvat—a part of the Paleo-Asiatic people (Chuckchi) that lived on the Chuckchi Peninsula in Northeastern Siberia. These were the ones that lived by herding reindeer. The Koryaks that herded reindeer also sometimes called themselves by this name.

Cheroenhaka—an Iroquoian tribe (Nottoway). In the books I use the name for the Nottoway, Menherrin, and Tuscarora tribes, which I place in central and southern Virginia, still united as one tribe. This is northwest of their contact positions. Their dialects are similar enough that it is likely they were still united at the time of the books.
Chichimeca—the various Oto-Manguean tribes living north and west of the Valley of Mexico as unorganized bands. They would periodically spill into the valley and mix with or displace those they found. At first this would be the Otomi who are likely the original inhabitants of the valley, but later other similar groups who had been variously civilized. The Aztecs are the most well known such group.

Chikasha—a Muskhogean tribe (Chickasaw) whom I place in north central Mississippi. This is a small area within their location at contact. At the time of the first book they had fairly recently split off from their original tribe—most probably the Choctaw.

Chillao—tribe that lived south of the Chacha on the upper Maranon River near the Casca-yunga.

Ch’i-tan—a Mongol-speaking people (Khitans) that conquered part of North China and established the Liao Dynasty (916–1125). They refused to be Sinacized and treated the Chinese as inferiors. They were overthrown by the Jurchen.

Chiwaro—a linguistically isolated tribe (Jivaro) living in a large area of southeast Ecuador and north central Peru in the jungles of the eastern foothills of the Andes. They are famous in recent times for shrinking heads and killing missionaries. They resisted conquest into modern times except for their westernmost divisions, the Palta and Malacata, who had moved into the mountains.

Chono—the Chilean tribe just south of the Re Che. Their language and culture were nothing like that of the Re Che. They are likely related to the Alacaluf and the other tribes farther south. Their language has been almost completely lost.

Chontal—a people living in north central Guerrero whose language is hard to classify. At contact they were subject to the Aztecs.

 

Chumash—a Hokan-speaking tribe living along the coast, the off-shore islands and the mountains from Moro Bay to just north of Santa Monica in southern California.

Ciboney—an Arawakan people that along with the Guanahatabey had been displaced from most of the Greater Antilles by the Taino. They still existed at contact in the western tip of Hispaniola and in the cays of southern Cuba. They were a primitive people who lived off the sea.

Coixca—a Uto-Aztecan people living in northern Guerrero on both sides of the upper Balsas River. At contact they were subject to the Aztecs.

 

Colli—tribe living in the lower and middle Chillon River Valley just north of modern Lima, Peru. Conchuco—Quechua name for the province and perhaps the tribe living on the west bank of the upper Maranon River in central Peru.

 

Coosa—an ancient Muskhogean town of a people whose remnants became members of the Upper Creeks. It was situated along the Coosa River in northern Alabama.

 

Cuitlatec—a people of uncertain language that lived in western Guerrero between the Petatlan and Coyuca rivers from the mountains to the shore. At contact they had been conquered by the Aztecs.

Cusabo—a possibly Muskhogean group of tribes that lived on the coast between Charleston, SC and the Savannah River. This group included the Combahee, Edisto, Etiwaw, Kiawaw, St. Helena, Stono, Wapoo and Westo tribes. In the books I am intentionally vague about them.

Da-a-gelma’n—a Penutian tribe (Takelma) forming their own language isolate (Takilman). They lived along the middle portion of the Rogue River in southern Oregon.

Dinne—the name of the Athabaskan tribes that migrated from Canada into the Southwestern U.S. and became known as Apache and Navaho. In the first book they are still scattered between southern Montana and the Four Corners area with a few isolated related groups in Idaho, Oregon, and California.

Dzitsiista—an Algonquian tribe (Cheyenne) whom I place around the Minnesota and Red rivers in western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota.
Eskualdunac—a people of uncertain language classification (Basques) living in north central Spain and southwestern France on both sides of the Pyrenees Mountains. There is ample evidence that they were fishing for cod off the coast of New England long before Columbus.

Etchareottine—an Athabaskan tribe (Slaveys) that live west and south of Great Slave Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

 

Etnemitane—an Athabaskan tribe (Umpqua) that lived along the upper Umpqua River in Southern Oregon. They lived off the river and were not as developed as their neighbors.

 

Euzkadi—Basque name for their homeland.

Even—a Tungus people that live along the northern shore of the Okhotsk Sea in Eastern Siberia and well inland along the Omolon River. They appear to be a combination of a people very like the Evenks and the original people of the area, the Yukaghir. At the time of the book this process was well under way, but not yet complete.

Evenks—a Tungus people that live along the western shore of the Sea of Okhotsk and far inland into Siberia.

Genakin—a tribe (Puelche) that lived in the northern Pampas of Argentina from the Rio de la Plata to the Rio Negro and west to the Andean foothills. Historically, as in the books, they fought desperately for their freedom. Their language does not seem related to that of their immediate neighbors except the tribal fragments called the Pampas, Serrano, and Querandi, who do not appear in the books and were all likely originally part of the Genakin.

Great Bay Tribes—a term used in the books for the Algonquian tribes living around the Chesapeake Bay. This would include the Nanticoke, Conoy, and Powhatan.

Great Sound Tribes—a term used in the books for the Algonquian tribes living along the mainland opposite the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This would include the Pamlico, Weapemeoc, Moratok, Machapunga, Hatteras, and Chowanoc tribes.

Guanahatabey—an Arawakan people living in western Cuba where they were pushed by the Taino. They were quite primitive, living off the sea.

 

Guarani—a large language family extending from southern Brazil to the Parana Delta. In the book the name designates the small isolate in the Parana Delta.

 

Guayana—a Ge-speaking tribe (Caingang) that lived in the area of Sao Paolo in southeastern Brazil. Hais—a Caddoan-speaking tribe (Eyeish) with a dialect rather distinct from other Caddoan tribes. They lived in the area of eastern Texas to northwest Louisiana at the time of the books.

Halkome’lem—a Salishian tribe (Stalo) that lived on the lower Frazier River in southwestern British Columbia. In the books they are combined as one tribe with the Cowichan who lived on the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island.

Hamakhava—the California Shoshonean name for the Tzinama-a.

Han—the dominant Chinese ethnic group. From an amalgam of the tribes subject to the Han Dynasty in the 3rd and 4th century AD, and not jealous of their separate identity, they have gone on absorbing neighboring people so that they make up about 94 percent of the Chinese population today. Even so, there are some fifty minorities still identifiable in China. The Han state was between the Yangtze and Yellow rivers and spread south to Hainan Island, west to part of modern Sinkiang Province, north into Manchuria and Korea and east to the China Sea.

Hasinai—a Caddoan confederacy of related tribes that centered on the Hainai tribe. They were in the northeast Texas area, from Dallas to the Red River.

Haush—a tribe living on the southeastern tip of Tierra del Fuego (off the southern tip of Chile). They are related to the Shelknam and likely migrated from Patagonia before them. They speak a dialect of the Tshon family, which is just intelligible to the Shelknam.
Hewaktokto—a Siouan tribe (Hidatsa) which I place on the Missouri River between the Little Missouri and the Knife rivers.

Hobe—a Timacua tribe historically located in the Palm Beach area of the southeastern Florida Coast. Hopitu-shinumu—a Uto-Aztecan tribe (Hopi) living in the 14th century along the Colorado and the Little Colorado rivers in north central Arizona.

Hotcangara—a Siouan people that in the books represents the Winnebago and Chiwere Sioux (Oto, Iowa, and Missouri) tribes. Most evidence suggests that the people that occupied the great city now called Cahokia, near East St. Louis, Illinois, were a Siouan tribe. A process of elimination tends to make this group of Sioux the likeliest candidates. The languages of these tribes are mutually comprehensible, so their separation was fairly recent and perhaps incomplete at the time of the books. The name “Hotcangara” means “people of the parent speech” and was used, in contact times, to refer to the Winnebago.

Hsiung-nu—Altaic-speaking nomads from Inner Mongolia that coalesced into a powerful tribe dominating Mongolia and Chinese Turkistan. They raided the northern frontier of the Han Dynasty for centuries, finally conquering and displacing them as the Chao Dynasty (AD 304–52). They ruled over most of north China but were under constant pressure from all sides and fragmented in small states until they were unified under the Chinese Sui Dynasty (AD 581–618).

Huacrachucu—Quechua name for a province and possibly a tribe on the east bank of the upper Maranon River in central Peru.

 

Huamachucu—Quechua name for the people living just south of the Q’asa-marka, to whom they were related. They too were allied to the Chimu.

 

Huancavilca—a tribe living on the Santa Elena Peninsula in southwestern Ecuador, around and west of Guayaquil. Their language was lost but thought to be distinct from that of their neighbors.

Huaxteca—a Mayan people (Huastecs) who lived in northeastern Mexico between the Vinazco and the Soto la Marina rivers encompassing the southern parts of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, Northern Vera Cruz, Hidalgo, and Queretaro and most of San Luis Potosi. In contact times they had been driven a little east and had lost some cities to the Aztecs.

Huexotzinco—a city-state in the Valley of Puebla, Central Mexico. At the time of the first book it was the ascendant city in the valley, dominating its neighboring cities and intruding itself westward into the Valley of Mexico. By contact times it belonged to Texcalla.

Iliniwek—an Algonquian tribe (Illinois) which I place at the southern end of Lake Michigan from Grand River in Michigan to the Illinois-Wisconsin border, including much of northwestern Indiana and southwestern Michigan.

Inka—the dominant tribe (Inca) of Peru at contact. Its empire stretched from southern Colombia to northwest Argentina and northern Chile at the time of the conquest. In the second book their expansion was just beginning.

Inuit—the Eskimo people that live along the shore of Northern and Western Alaska and Northern Canada. Inuna-ina—an Algonquian tribe (Arapaho) which I place on the Assiniboin River in southern Manitoba, Canada.

 

Ipai—a Yuman-speaking people (Digueno) that lived in modern San Diego County, California.

Iroquoian—a language family of tribes ranging from the Saint Lawrence River south through New York, Pennsylvania, and along the Blue Ridge Mountains to North Carolina. They were sedentary and agricultural, but often warlike.

Ishak—(Atakapa) a separate linguistic group (sometimes they are considered a Macro-Algonquian language isolate). I place them in a narrow band along the Gulf Coast from Vermilion Bay, Louisiana, to the Brazos River, Texas.
Itza—a Maya people allegedly connected to the Toltecs. They set up a Toltec-like city in northern Yucatan (Chichen Itza) which was eventually overthrown and its survivors fled south to Lake Tayasil where they still were at the time of contact.

Iyehyeh—name used in the book for the various Siouan tribes that lived in the Carolinas (Catawba, Cheraw, Sugaree, Waxhaw, Congaree, Santee, Winyaw, Etiwaw, Sewee, Waccamaw, Wateree, Cape Fear, Keyauwee, Sissipahaw, Adshusher, Shakori, Pedee, Wocoon, Saponi, and Eno).

Jurchen—a Tungus-speaking tribe (Jurchids) that originated in the forests and mountains of eastern Manchuria. They went on to become horsemen and soon were threatening both the Ch’i-tans and the Koreans. In 1115 their ruler declared himself emperor of the Chin Dynasty (1115–1234) and began to overrun the Ch-i-tan lands. By 1125 the Ch’i-tans were scattered and the Jurchids began spreading south and eventually ruled most of the Yellow River Valley. They were, in turn, brushed aside by the Mongols under Chingis and Kubilai (1212–34).

Kadohadacho—a Caddoan tribe, the leading or most distinguished tribe of the Hasinai Confederacy of Caddoan tribes. I place the Kadohadacho along the lower Canadian and Cimarron rivers, and the Arkansas River from the Nebraska border to the Neosho River in eastern Oklahoma.

Ka-i-gwu—a tribe (Kiowa) and linguistic family probably related to Uto-Aztecan that lived at the headwaters of the Missouri River.

 

Kaina—a division (Bloods) of the Siksika (Blackfoot). At the time of the first book this division was probably just developing.

Kakan—the name of the language of the Diaguita tribe of northern Chile and northwestern Argentina. The tribe apparently expanded into Chile at some point. The language is an isolate, probably related to Argentinean language groups.

Kalapoewah—a Penutian tribe (Kalapooian) that lived in the watershed of the Willamette and Umpqua rivers and in the Willamette Valley above the falls, Oregon. They hunted and dug up roots.

 

Kanale—a possible Zaparoan-speaking tribe (Canelo) that lived in the jungles of the eastern foothills of the Andes in east central Ecuador north of the Chiwaro.

 

Kanastoge—an Iroquoian tribe (Conestoga or Susquehanna) that lived on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

 

Kaniengehaga—an Iroquoian tribe (Mohawk), the easternmost of that language group that lived along the middle Mohawk River in Central New York. They were one of the Five Nations of historic times. Kasihta—a town on the banks of the Chattahoochee River a few miles below Kawita, Georgia. The inhabitants later became Lower Creeks.

 

Kawchodinne—an Athabaskan tribe (Hares) who lived between the Mackenzie River and Great Bear Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

 

Kawesqar—a tribe (Alacaluf) living along the coast and on the islands of southern Chile, south of the Chono. They were much like the Chono in culture and likely spoke a similar language.

 

Kensistenoug—an Algonquian tribe (Cree) who were found in Canada in a broad band from central Saskatchewan to Hudson Bay, including most of central Manitoba and much of Ontario.

 

K’eres—a linguistic family of Pueblo Indians (Keresan) living west of the upper Rio Grande in West Central New Mexico around Acoma.

Khitans—a Tungus people that consolidated into a federation of tribes in Eastern Inner Mongolia in AD 905. In 926 their Khan (Yeh-lu A-pao-chi) declared himself emperor and adopted the dynastic name, Liao. By 937 they controlled the Beijing area and continued to rule the northeastern tip of China as the Liao Dynasty until 1125 when the Jurchen overthrew them. Some of them fled west among the Uighurs and formed the state called Kara Khitai, which was later conquered by the Mongols.
Kicho—a Chibchan-speaking tribe (Quijo) living in north central Ecuador. They are likely related to the Chibchan-speaking tribes to their west in the mountains (the Panzaleo), with whom they were friendly and shared many traits.

Kigzh—a Uto-Aztecan-speaking tribe (Gabrielinos) that lived in what is now Los Angeles County, California. Kitikiti’sh—a Caddoan tribe (Wichita) which I place along the middle Arkansas River, the Neosho River and Osage River in southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri.

Kituhwa—the Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) dialect spoken along the Tuckasegee River in western north Carolina around the principle city by the same name. This may have been the original language, since Kituhwa was considered by many of the Cherokee to be their first town, but it is uncertain.

Kiwigapawa—an Algonquian tribe (Kickapoo) whom I place in eastern Michigan from Saginaw Bay to Lake Erie and in the tip of Ontario between Lake Huron and Lake Erie.

 

Koasati—a town probably on Pine Island in the Tennessee River whose remnants became Upper Creeks. In the book they are among the few future Creeks who join the Mongols.

 

Kofan—a tribe (Cofan) of uncertain language that lived in south central Colombia and northeast Ecuador in the jungles of the eastern foothills of the Andes just east and northeast of the Kicho.

 

Kofitachiki—a Muskhogean tribe (Cofitachiqui) whose survivors became part of the Lower Creeks. It was a large chiefdom located along much of the Savannah River to the Wateree River except for the coast. Kusa—a Penutian tribe (Kusan) that lived along the Coos River and Bay as well as the lower Coquille River in southeastern Oregon. They were sedentary and agricultural.

 

Kutchakutchin—an Athabaskan tribe (Kutchin) that lived on both banks of the Yukon River between Birch Creek and the Porcupine rivers in Northeastern Alaska.

 

Kutonaqa—a tribe (Kutenai) and a distinct language family possibly related to Algonquian that lived in the Rockies from southeastern British Columbia to northern Idaho and the northwestern tip of Montana. Kuweveka paiya—a Yuman tribe (Yavapai) that lived in the northwest quadrant of Arizona perhaps as far east as the Rio Verde and the Salt River, but east and south of the Colorado River.

 

Kwakiutl—Wakashan tribe (actually an amalgam of small related bands) that lived on both shores of Queen Charlotte Sound and northern Vancouver Island in southwestern British Columbia, Canada.

Kwawia—a Uto-Aztecan-speaking tribe (Cahuilla) that lived in the desert area south of the San Bernardino Mountains and north of the Santa Rosa Mountains in southwestern San Bernardino County California, south of the Takhtam (Serrano).

Kwenetchechat—a Wakashan tribe (Makah) that lived on Cape Flattery in northwest Washington. They exploited the sea much like their relatives farther north.

Kwenio’gwen—an Iroquois tribe (Cayuga) one of those that became the Five Nations. At the time of the first book, they are still not united to the other tribes and were found around Lake Cayuga in West Central New York.

Kwichana—a Hokan tribe (Yuma) that lived along the lower Colorado River around its junction with the Gila River.

 

Lacandon—a Mayan tribe that lived along the Usumacinta and Pasion rivers in Chiapas Mexico and Guatemala. They have remained rather primitive, unlike their relatives.

 

Lalacas—a Latuami tribe (Modoc) that lived in northeastern California and south central Oregon. Lampa—tribe living in the upper Chillon and Chancay valleys in southern Peru near the Ocro, with whom they were usually fighting.

Latacunga—tribe living in north central Ecuador around Quito. Also called the Panzaleo or the Kito. Leni lenape—Algonquian tribe (Delaware) that lived in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southeastern New York.

‘Lingit—an Athabaskan tribe (Tlingit) located along the Alaskan panhandle from Prince William Sound to Dixon Entrance.

 

Locono—general name the Arawakan tribes along the north coast of South America from eastern Venezuela to western French Guiana used for themselves.

Lucayo—the Taino bands living on the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands north of the Greater Antilles. Lygitann’ytan—the Koryak name for the Chuckchi.

Macuni—a Mashacali-speaking tribe that lived in the mountains in the eastern part of the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil.

 

Mahican—an Algonquian tribe that lived in the upper Hudson River Valley extending a little into Massachusetts and Vermont.

 

Mashacali—a separate linguistic family that lived along the Mucuri River in southeastern Brasil. Matlatzinca—an Oto-Manguean people that lived in the Valley of Toluca west of the Valley of Mexico. At contact they were subject to the Aztecs.

Maya—a people with a long history of development. They began in the highlands of Guatemala, then gradually moved north into the Yucatan peninsula. They left behind ruins of many great ceremonial centers. They wrote many books in their picture language but only a few survived the conquest. They fought against themselves frequently and were unable to form any sort of empire. They spread north as far as Tamaulipas, Mexico (the Huastecs), but otherwise dominated the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico along with most of the states of Tabasco and Chiapas and also Belize, Guatemala, and part of Honduras and El Salvador.

Mayapan—a Maya state centered on the city of Mayapan that controlled much of Northern Yucatan at the time of the first book. At contact it was just another Maya city.

 

Mazahuaca—an Oto-Manguean people that lived just north of the Matlatzinca in the Valley of Toluca and the hills north of it. At contact they were subject to the Aztecs.

Menominiwok ininiwok—Algonquian tribe (Menominee) living along both shores of Upper Lake Michigan from Green Bay and the Leelanau Peninsula to just before Mackinaw Island and including most of the habitable islands in that region of the lake.

Meritong—a subdivision of the Coroado tribe, a Puri-Coroado-speaking people that lived inland north and west of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the time of the books, the Puri and Coroado were still one tribe. Merkits—a Tungus tribe living near Lake Baikal. They were often at odds with the Mongols but united with them under Chingis and remained an integral part of them.

Mexica—the probably Oto-Manguean people that took up Nahual, a Uto-Aztecan language at some point before contact. At the time of the first book they were subjects of the Tepanecs living on two islands near the western shore of Lake Texcoco, Tenochtitlan, and Tlatelolco. Historically they joined in a revolt that overthrew the Tepanecs and formed part of the Triple Alliance that became the Aztecs.

Mingue—one of the Algonquian terms for the Northern Iroquois.
Minuan—a subtribe of the Charrua that lived in northeastern Argentina between the Uruguay and Parana rivers. Mocozo—a Timacuan tribe that I place in an extended area around Lake Kissimmee in south central Florida.

Mongols—a Tungus people originally from the forests and mountains south of Lake Baikal. They migrated south to the Onon River around AD 900, and there formed a number of tribes most of whom were herdsmen. These continued in obscurity used as pawns by the Chinese, Khitans, and Jurchens until they consolidated under Chingis in 1203. He was named Khan in 1206 and began to form one of the largest empires in history. His grandson Kubilai conquered the rest of China and founded the Yuan Dynasty (1264–1368). The Mongols were eventually driven back to Mongolia by a popular Chinese revolt that led to the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

Moyopampa—Quechua name for the tribe living in a low extension of the Andes northeast of the Chacha. The name means “round valley.”

Muskhogean—a language family (sometimes classified as Macro-Algonquian) found mostly in the southeastern U.S. from the Mississippi River to the Georgia Coast, from Southern Tennessee and South Carolina to the Gulf and including most of Florida. They tended to be a sedentary people living in towns and villages and cultivating extensively.

Nahani—Athabaskan tribe that lived in the Rockies from northern British Columbia to the Yukon Territory, Canada.

Na-I-shan-dina—an Athabaskan-speaking tribe (Kiowa Apache) that attached itself to the Kiowa. I place them along the Yellowstone River in south central Montana and the upper Belle Fourche River in western South Dakota.

Nanai—a Tungus people of apparently mixed background living on the middle Amur River in northeast China and southeast Siberia.

Narragansett—Algonquin-speaking tribe that lived in Rhode Island from Providence River to Pawcatuck River. In historic times they first grew large with refugees from other tribes, then were destroyed during King Philip’s War.

Natchez—a Muskhogean tribe that lived along the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area of Natchez, Mississippi.

 

Nausets—an Algonquin-speaking people living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts east of Bass River. They were either part of or subject to the Wampanoag. In historic times they were peaceful and helped the Pilgrim Colony.

Ne-e-noilno—an Algonquin-speaking people (Montagnais) that were found in southeastern Quebec, Canada, north of the St. Lawrence River and east of St. Maurice River. In the books they would be one of the Northeastern Bands.

Newe—a Uto-Aztecan-speaking people (southern Shoshone) who were around and to the south of the Great Salt Lake in Utah at the time of the books.

Niantic—an Algonquin-speaking tribe occupying the coast of eastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island from Narragansett Bay to the Connecticut River. In historic times they were divided into two by the Pequot Tribe. They were generally allied with the Narragansett Tribe.

Nicarao—a Nahual-speaking people that migrated in the 11th century to the area between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean.

 

Nimipu—a Sahaptian tribe (Nez Perce) who lived along the Salmon, lower Snake and upper Columbia rivers in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. In the books I include most of the Sahaptian tribes under this name. Nivkh—a Paleo-Asiatic people living on the lower Amur River in southeastern Siberia.

Nomo—a Uto-Aztecan-speaking people (northern Shoshone) which I place in southern Idaho, especially along the Snake River and from northern Utah to northwestern Wyoming. This would be the northern end of their location at contact.

Nonoalco—a possibly mythical people of great artistic talent whom the legends credit for building all the great cities in the Valley of Anahuac and the surrounding areas.

Northeastern Bands—the name used in the book for the Algonquin tribes living largely as scattered bands in New England and eastern Canada. This would include the Nipissing, Temiscaming, Abittibi, Algonkin, Nascapee, Montagnais, Mistassin, Bersiamite, Papinachois, Micmac, Malecite. Passamaquoddy, Arosaguntacook, Sokoki, Penobscot, Norridgewock, Pennacook, Massachuset, Wampanoag, Narraganset, Nipmuc, Montauk and Wapinger.

Nukfila—the “Creek” name for either the Utina or all the Timacua-speaking tribes.

Numakiki—a Siouan tribe (Mandan) that lived along the middle Missouri River, from the Knife to the Cheyenne rivers in central North and South Dakota. An isolated group lived near the confluence of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne rivers in south western South Dakota.

Numu—a Uto-Aztecan-speaking tribe (Northern Paiute—Mono) living in the mountains of central eastern California and western Nevada.

Nuwu—a Uto-Aztecan-speaking tribe (Southern Paiute—Chemehuevi) that lived in the deserts and mountains of central and eastern San Bernardino County, California. At some point after the time of the books they moved east to the Colorado River displacing the Yuman-speaking people there.

Nymil’’u—a Paleo-Asiatic people (Koryaks) living north of and on the northern neck of the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Siberia.

 

Ocale—a Timacua tribe that lived in central Florida between the Withlacoochee and Oklawaha rivers.

Ocheti shakowin—a Siouan tribal group (Dakota), which went on to separate into Santee, Yankton, and Teton Sioux. In the first book they are still united and live a sedentary life in a large part of Minnesota from the Mississippi River to the Duluth area.

Ocro—tribe living in the upper Chillon and Chancay valleys in southern Peru near the Lampa with whom they often fought.

 

Ojibwa—the Cree name for the Anishinabe (Chippewa).

 

Okimulgis—an old Muskhogean town (Okmulgee) located on the east bank of the Okmulgee River south of Macon. Its people were probably Hitchiti.

Olmeca—a largely Zoquean-speaking people that were a mixture of the various tribes in the area. They were not the same Olmecs who flourished in the area long before. They were called Olmeca because “oli” or rubber could be found in the area, and gave their name to the earlier civilization.

Oneniute’ron’non—an Iroquoian tribe (Seneca) that lived between Seneca Lake and the Geneva River in West New York. Historically, they were one of the Five Nations.

 

Ononta’ge—an Iroquoian tribe (Onondaga) that lived along Onondaga Creek and Lake and north to Lake Ontario. They were one of the Five Nations.

Otomi—an Oto-Manguean people that lived in and north and east of the Valley of Mexico. They were probably the original inhabitants of the valley. At the time of the books, they dominated the northern shore of Lake Texcoco as well as most of the states of Hidalgo and Queretaro, along with parts of Tlaxcalla, Puebla and Vera Cruz. At contact they were mostly under the Aztecs.

Ottare—Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) dialect spoken by those living in the Smoky Mountains (southern Appalachian) from northwest Georgia to southwest Virginia, except for the area of the Tuckasegee River in North Carolina. It was different but just mutually intelligible to the others.

Ozita—a Timacua tribe that lived along the southern shore of Tampa Bay in western Florida. Pache—a Chibchan-speaking tribe (also Panche) that lived along the upper reaches of the Magdalena River in south central Colombia.

 

Palta—a division of the Chiwaro that moved into the mountains from the jungles to the east. They lived in southern Ecuador around Loja southward into northeast Peru near Jaen.

Panai’ti—a Shoshonean people (Bannock) that lived in the eastern parts of Shoshonean lands. It is not clear if they were separate at the time of the books, and I make their distinctness vague.
Pansfalaya—a Muskhogean tribe (Choctaw) that held sway over all but the northern tip and the northwest edge and the coast of Mississippi.

Pantch—a possibly Muskhogean tribe (Chitimacha) that was located along the Mississippi Delta in Southern Louisiana.

Pashohan—the Caddoan name for the “Hotcangara” Sioux.
Patasho—a possibly language isolate, they were found inland from the coast of Brazil around the 17º S parallel. Paya—a possibly Chibchan-speaking tribe that lived along the northeast coast of Honduras. Pensacola—a Timacuan tribe that lived along the lower Escambia and Yellow rivers and around Pensacola Bay.

Pesmokanti—Algonquin-speaking tribe (Passamaquoddy) part of the Abenaki Confederacy. They were found along the St. Croix River between Maine and New Brunswick. In the books they are one of the Northeastern Bands.

Piegan—a division of the Siksika (Blackfoot). At the time of the books this division was probably just beginning.

 

Pinco—a tribe living at the headwaters of the Maranon River in south central Peru.

 

Pioje—a Tucanoan-speaking tribe, the eastern division of the Encabellado tribe living in north central Ecuador in the jungles of the eastern foothills of the Andes.

 

Potano—a Timacua tribe that lived in northern Florida from the Santa Fe River to Orange Lake and west to the Suwannee River (the Gainesville area).

 

Potawatamink—an Algonquian tribe (Potawatomi) that I place from Sault Ste. Marie and Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron to the headwaters of the Mattagami River.

Purepecha—a people (Tarascans) whose language forms an isolate. They lived in most of the state of Michoacan, Mexico, and were still an independent entity at contact. At the time of the first book, they were just becoming an “empire” and only dominated a small area around Lake Patzcuaro. It is unclear where they came from.

Puruha—the tribe occupying central Ecuador around Riobamba and Guano.

Putun Maya—a group of Maya that lived along the coast just east of the Yucatan peninsula in the Mexican states of Tabasco, Campeche, and Chiapas. They were formidable traders ranging all along the Atlantic coasts of Mexico and Central America and probably to many of the westernmost Caribbean islands (Cuba, the Caymans, and Jamaica).

Q’asa-marka—the Quechua name for a powerful state (Caxamarca) allied to the Chimu Empire. They lived around the city of Cajamarca in northern Peru. It is not known what their original name was. The name means “town in a ravine.”

Qin—a Chinese-speaking northwestern Chinese tribe and state (Chin) that overthrew and replaced the Zhou Dynasty in 221 BC. It greatly expanded and consolidated China, but only lasted until the death of the first emperor in 210 BC, after which civil wars broke out again. The Western name for the Middle Kingdom (China) comes from the name of this state.

Ralamari—a Uto-Aztecan tribe (Tarahumare) that lived in the mountains of north central Mexico in most of the states of Zacatecas and Coahuilla and in parts of Jalisco, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosi. They were still independent at contact.

Re Che—the tribe that lived in middle Chile. They used to be called Araucan but more recently are called Mapuche, the name of one of their divisions. The other divisions are Picunche, Wiyiche, and Chilote. Long after contact, a group crossed the Andes into Argentina. In the book they are all still west of the Andes between the Limari River and Chiloe Island. Their language is an apparent isolate.
Saktchi Huma—a Muskhogean tribe (Chakchiuma) that was closely related to the Choctaw and Chickasaw. In the book they are a small tribe in northwestern Mississippi, near the Yazoo River.

Salishian—a language family of tribes found in the Northwest. It includes the Flatheads, Spokan, Kalispel, Cour d’ Alene, Pisquow, Sinkiuse, Methow, Okinagan, Shuswap, Ntlakyapamuk, Lillooet, Bellacoola, Comox, Cowichan, Squamish, Songish, Nisqualli, Twana, Chehalis and Tillamook.

Salst—a Salishian tribe (Flathead) that lived in northeastern Washington, northern Idaho, and just into Montana. In the books all the Salishian tribes are called Salst.

 

Saturiwa—a Timacuan tribe that lived along the lower St. Johns River in northeastern Florida. Sekani—Athabaskan tribe living along the Rockies from west central Alberta to east and central British Columbia, Canada.

Shagero—an Algonquian tribe (Yurok) that lived along the mouth of the Klamath River in northern California. Shahi’yena—Sioux name for the Dzitsiistas (Cheyenne).

Shang—a Chinese-speaking north China dynasty (and possibly the name of their tribe) that ruled over part of northern China (most of the Yellow River Valley) from 1500 to 1122 BC. It was overthrown by the Zhou Dynasty.

Shastika—a Hokan tribe (Shasta) living in Northern California.

 

Shawunogi—an Algonquian tribe (Shawnee) that I place in Central Indiana. This is west of their contact location (Central Ohio).

Shelknam—a tribe living on most of Tierra del Fuego (island off the southern tip of Chile and Argentina). Their language belongs to the Tshon family and they most likely migrated from Patagonia in two waves at some point after their relatives the Haush. The northern and southern Shelknam have different dialects and culture and were often at odds. They and the Haush were called Ona by the Yamana and some books refer to them by that name.

Siksika—an Algonquian tribe (Blackfoot) whom I place roaming the prairies of Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan along the Saskatchewan River. At the time of the first book the Bloods and Piegans were still united with the Blackfoot.

Siouan Tribes—an agricultural people of decreasing sophistication from south to north. They were at the time of the book in a broad band from Minnesota to Missouri, into the Central Plains along the Missouri River, and east along the Ohio River as far as the Pennsylvania border. They also had an isolated group in much of the Carolinas. At the time of contact, the northern groups had moved into the plains (Dakota and Chiwere) or up the Missouri (Dhegiba) or down the Mississippi (Quapaw and Biloxi) and the Virginia Sioux were in place in much of Central Virginia.

Southeastern Cities—a term used in the books to refer to the cities of the Muskhogean people that refused to join the Mongols. After contact the remnants of these people greatly reduced by plagues became the Creeks. Surreche—a Timacuan tribe that lived between Cape Canaveral and the upper St. Johns River on the central east coast of Florida.

Taino—an Arawakan people that lived mostly in the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica), but also in the Western Lesser Antilles. They migrated up from Venezuela and gradually displaced the Ciboney an earlier migratory group from the same area. They, in turn, were displaced from the Southern Lesser Antilles by the Caribs, yet another group from the same place. They were very agricultural and traded extensively.

Takhtam—a Uto-Aztecan-speaking people (Serrano) living in the southwestern part of San Bernardino County, California.

Tamien—a Penutian-speaking people who belonged to subgroup called Costanoan and lived in modern Santa Clara County, California.
Tamoyo—a Tupian-speaking tribe that lived in the area around modern Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Like all Tupian tribes, they migrated from the interior displacing the original tribe, the Tapuya.

Tanish—a Caddoan tribe (Arikira) which at the time of the first book was divided into two groups along the mid Missouri River. One was near the White River in central South Dakota and the other was between the Niobrara and the Big Nemaha rivers in eastern Nebraska.

Tarama—Quechua name for a tribe living along the Montoro River south of Lake Junin in central Peru. At the time of the second book, they were subject to the Inka.

Tatars—a Tungus tribe that split off from the Mongols at the Onon River. They were heavily embroiled as mercenaries and ill-used the Mongols frequently. Once the latter got the upper hand under Chingis, the Tatars ceased to exist as a separate tribe. He killed all their men and incorporated the women and children into the Mongols.

Tatsanottine—an Athabaskan tribe (Yellowknives) that lived northeast of Great Slave Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

 

Taunika—a Muskhogean tribe (Tunica) that lived along the West Bank of the Mississippi River from the Red River to the Arkansas River and on the East Bank over to the Yazoo River.

 

Tekesta—a Timacua tribe that lived in the Miami area of southeastern Florida.

Tepaneca—an Oto-Manguean-speaking people that lived on the western shore of Lake Texcoco. At the time of the first book, they were beginning to dominate the valley. Historically they conquered most of it before falling to the Triple Alliance that became the Aztecs. They were still under the Aztecs at contact.

Tepuztec—a people in the northern part the Mexican state of Guerrero between the Balsas River and the mountains to the south. Historically they were conquered by the Aztecs and remained under them at contact.

Texcalla—an Oto-Manguean-speaking city state (Tlaxcalla) in the Puebla Valley that at the time of the first book was dominated by Huexotzinco. Historically, they came to dominate the Puebla Valley and remained independent of the Aztecs. At contact they first fought, then joined Cortez.

T’han-u-ge—a group of Pueblo tribes (Tano) that form their own language group with the Tewa, Jemez, Tigua, and Piro tribes (Tanoan). I place them on the upper Rio Grande around Santa Fe, New Mexico. Thilanottine—an Athabaskan tribe (Chipewya) that lived in Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and Southeastern Northwest Territories of Canada.

 

Tiionen’iote’—an Iroquoian tribe (Oneida) that lived in the area south of Lake Oneida in Central New York. They were one of the Five Nations.

Timacua—a language family whose members lived in most of Florida. Some authorities refer to the Utina tribe as the Timacua proper while still using the name for all the Florida tribes. They were all agriculturally active, often planting two crops a year. The individual tribal names used in the book are at best suspect. There is very little reliable information on their language or what the various “city states” called themselves.

Tinneh—an Athabaskan family consisting of the Hares, Yellowknives, Beavers, Slaveys, Dogribs, and Chipewya tribes of Northwestern Canada.

 

Titskan Wa’titch—a difficult-to-classify group (Tonkawa) that forms its own language group (sometimes they are considered Macro-Algonquian). They occupied much of central Texas and lived a mean hunter-gatherer life. Ti’wan—a group of Pueblo tribes (Tigua) of the Tanoan language group. I place them along the Upper Rio Grande from Taos to Socorro.

 

Tlalhuica—a Uto-Aztecan people that lived south of the Valley of Mexico, in the states of Morelos and Mexico. At contact they were under the Aztecs.

Tlapaneca—a Hokan people that lived in eastern Guerrero, western Oaxaca and southern Puebla in southern Mexico. At contact they were under control of the Aztecs.
Tocobaga—a Timacua tribe that lived along the Gulf Coast of Florida between Tampa Bay and the Withlacoochie River.

T’o-pa—a Turkic-speaking people from Mongolia that conquered part of North China forming the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386–534). They adopted Buddhism and became Sinicized and absorbed by the Sui Dynasty.

Totonaca—a Penutian-speaking people (Totonacs) that lived on Mexico’s Gulf Coast between the Cazones and Papaloapan rivers in the states of Vera Cruz and Puebla. At contact they were tributaries of the Aztecs. Cortez landed in their territory.

Tremembe—a tribe living on the northeastern Brazilian coast from the Tury River to the Baia de Marajo. Their language is unknown, but it was not Tupi-Guarani.

 

Tsalagi—the Muskhogean (Creek) name for the Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee).

 

Tsattine—an Athabaskan tribe (Beavers) found in northern and central Alberta, Canada. The Sarci were a splinter group in southern Alberta, north and east of the Siksika (Blackfoot).

 

Tsimshian—a Salishian tribe living along the lower Skeena River and the adjoining coastal area in western British Columbia, Canada.

 

Tsinuk—a Penutian people (Chinooks) that lived on the lower Columbia River along the Washington and Oregon border.

Tsoyaha—the name used in the book for the Yuchi, a difficult-to-classify tribe (usually considered MacroSiouan) that I place in central Tennessee along and between the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, a little west of where they were found at first contact.

Tungus—the Altaic-speaking people of eastern subarctic Siberia. The term is sometimes used for all the Altaic people living in bands in Siberia.

Tupinamba—a Tupi-Guarani-speaking tribe that lived along the coast of Brazil from the Amazon River to Sao Paolo with some interruptions from other tribes. They had migrated from the interior in waves displacing first the original inhabitants and then each other.

Twanhtwanh—an Algonquian tribe (Miami) that I place in the northwest quarter of Ohio at the time of the first book. This is east of their contact position.

Tya Nuu—a Mixe-Zoquean people (Mixtecs) that lived in the mountainous areas of Southern Puebla and Northern Oaxaca. They are an old civilization that may be the descendants of the builders of Teotihuacán. They began conquering the Zapotecan lands only to be attacked themselves by the Aztecs and largely absorbed except for the state of Teotitlan, which was considered an ally. That was the situation at contact.

Tzinama-a—a Yuman-speaking tribe (Mohave) living along both sides of the lower Colorado River between Needles and Black Canyon, on the border of Arizona and California.

 

Ukwunu—a Muskhogean tribe (Oconee) that lived along the Oconee River in east central Georgia. They were probably related to the Hitchiti and followed them to become the Lower Creeks.

 

Urriparacushi—a Timacuan tribe that lived in Central Florida in the area between Winter Garden and the Withlacoochee River.

Ute—a Uto-Aztecan tribe that I place roaming the Great Basin including Southeast Oregon, Nevada, most of Utah, and part of Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and California. They were hunter-gatherers who eked out a precarious existence in a hostile environment. At contact they had split into the Paiutes and Utes and shared much of their area with the Shoshone.

Utina—a Timacuan tribe that lived in north central Florida between the St. Johns and upper Santa Fe rivers. Wacata—a Timacuan tribe that lived along the southeast coast of Florida in the Fort Pierce area. Wahili—a Muskhogean people (Guale) whose remnants probably became part of the Lower Creeks. They lived at the mouth of the Altamaha River in Georgia.

Wako—14th and 15th century Japanese pirates that plundered merchant shipping in the East China Sea, Yellow Sea, and Sea of Japan. They would also attack port cities and sack them. The disorganized Japanese authorities winked at their privations, while the Chinese and Koreans struggled to suppress them with varying success. Once trade became important enough to the Japanese, they were stopped.

Wampo—Quechua name for the tribe (Huambo) that lived south of the Wanka-pampa in northern Peru. It is uncertain if this is the name of the tribe since the word means “boat.” The Inka province was also called Cutervos, which might be the actual name of the tribe or perhaps there were two tribes in the province. In the book I call the people in this area Wampo.

Wanka—Quechua name for the tribe (Huanca) that lived between the cities of Huancayo and Jauja in southern Peru. The name means “field guardian.” At the time of the second book they were already subject to the Inka.

Wanka-pampa—Quechua name for the tribe (Huncapampa) occupying the area around the modern city of Huancabamba in northern Peru. It is not known what they called themselves. The name means “valley of the field guardian.”

Wappinger—an Algonquian-speaking tribe related to the Mahicans and the Delaware and living in southeastern New York (around Poughkeepsie) and western Connecticut. In historic times they formed a confederacy with related tribes from the east bank of the Hudson River (from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan) to the Connecticut River.

Waylya—Quechua name for a tribe (Huayla) that lived along the Huaylas River in west central Peru. The name means “meadow.”

Wazhazhe—a Siouan people that eventually became the Dhegiba Sioux (Ponca, Omaha, Osage, Kansa, and Quapaw). In the books they are found still united in the middle Ohio Valley from the Wabash to a little beyond Cincinnati. The traditions of these tribes put them in this general area at the time of the books.

Welel—a Hokan-speaking tribe (Esselen) living in the rough coastal country south of Monterrey Bay, California.

 

Wendat—an Iroquois tribe (Huron) living along the St. Lawrence River from Lake Erie to Montreal. Xa’ida—a Skittagetan-speaking tribe (possibly Athabaskan) (Haida) living on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia.

Yamana—a tribe (also called Yahgan) living on the islands along the southern coast of Tierra del Fuego (southernmost Chile). Their language is an isolate. It appears they may have either displaced or replaced the Alacaluf in their territory.

Yamasi—a Muskhogean tribe (Yamasee) living along Coastal Georgia at the time of the book. Historically they disappeared into the Seminoles after much warfare.

Yanktonai—a Siouan tribe (Yankton), a division of the Lakota. In the book the term is used for the Assiniboin that are thought to have broken off from the Yankton and moved to southeastern Manitoba, where they emulated the Cree.

Yatasi—Caddoan tribe found in northwest Arkansas, southwest Missouri, and eastern Oklahoma at the time of the book.

 

Ychma—a tribe living along the lower and middle portions of the Rimac and Lurin Valleys in southwestern Peru around and south of Lima.

 

Yenresh—an Iroquois tribe (Erie) whom I place in a thin band along the southern shore of Lake Erie from the middle of Ohio to the New York border. This is a little west of their contact location.

Yokut—a Penutian-speaking people living all along the San Joachin Valley of Southern California. Yope—a people that lived along the Papagallo River and its tributaries in Southern Guerrero, Mexico and spoke a difficult language to classify. At contact they were still independent, although almost surrounded by the Aztecs.

Yuit—the name the Inuit (Eskimos) of Siberia call themselves.

 

Yukaghur—a Paleo-Asiatic people that lived in the area north of the Sea of Okhost. They were generally absorbed by the Evens, a Tungus people that moved into their area from the west.

Yupigyt—the name the Chuckchi called the Eskimos.
Yustaga—a Timacua tribe living between the Aucilla and the Suwannee rivers on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Zhou—a Chinese-speaking northwestern Chinese tribe and dynasty (Chou) that overthrew the Shang Dynasty in 1122 BC and greatly expanded their territory over all of North China and even into the Yangtze River Valley in the south. Around 500 BC their authority began to wane and it was finally overthrown by another northwestern state, the Qin.

Appendix 4
Geographical Names

It was only logical that the Mongols would not name geographical features the same as generations of European explorers. Like the latter some of their names would reflect their ancestral homeland and heroes. Also like the latter some of the names would be those used by the local inhabitants, or the name of a nearby tribe or village. Where possible, the local names were used. Below are the names used in the book coupled with the names found on modern maps.

Absaroke River—Yellowstone River, NW Wyoming to NW North Dakota.
Ahatam River—Gila River, SW New Mexico to SW Arizona.
Aiti—Hispaniola Island, West Indies (Haiti & Dominican Republic).
Albayamule River—Tallapoosa and Alabama rivers, EC to SW Alabama.
Alnanbai River—Kennebec River, WC to SE Maine.
Alsi River—Alsea River, W Oregon.
Amgun River—Amgun River, SE Siberia.
Amona Island—Mona Island, between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.
Anahuac—“the One World” the Nahual term for the Valley of Mexico.
Andahualya—also called Chanca, Inka province west of Cuzco in SC Peru.
Andahuaylas—capital of Andahualya province. It is still so named and is in SC Peru.
Angara—Inka province south of Wanka on lower Montero River in SC Peru.
Apurimac River—major river in C Peru.
Aralbalikh—port near site of Port au Prince, Haiti.
Ashiwi River—Salt River, SC Arizona.

Atacames—principle city of the tribe now called Esmeraldas just east of the town of Esmeraldas in NW Ecuador.

Bayern—the German word for Bavaria a state in S Germany.
Bear River—James River, E North Dakota to E South Dakota.
Beaver River—Silver Creek, W Montana.
Bio Bio River—large river in C Chile.
Bira River—Bira River, SE Siberia.
Boriquen—Puerto Rico, West Indies.
Black Hill River—Cheyenne River, W South Dakota.
Bright Burning River—Blackfoot River, W Montana.
Caiyukla River—Siuslaw River, W Oregon.
Capawake—Wampanoag name for Martha’s Vineyard, SE Massachusetts.
Cara—Trinidad, West Indies. The name means “Land of Hummingbirds.”
Cathay—Medieval European name for China.
Cautin River—river in S. Chile, flows into the Imperial River.
Cayambe—town NE of Quito, Ecuador. It was the principle town of the Cara tribe.
Champa—ancient kingdom in southern Viet Nam.
Chan Chan—capital of the Chimu Empire, near Trujillo, NW Peru.
Chesapeak—Great Bay Tribe (Powhatan) town in south Norfolk, Virginia.
Chicama River—NW Peru.
Chingis River—Delaware River, E Pennsylvania.
Choapa River—C Chile.
Chosin—name of Korea under the Yi Dynasty (1392-1910).
Chot—(or Chotuna) Chimu city near modern Chiclayo, NW Peru.

Chuncumayo—Almodena River—larger river south of Inka Cuzco into which the Huatanay and Tullumayo rivers flow. It is a tributary of the Urubamba River.

Churning White Water River—Clearwater River, N Idaho.
Cincay Qoca—Inka province just south of Huanuco around Lake Junin in C Peru.
Cincay Qoca Lake—Lake Junin in C Peru. The name means “Lynx Lake.”
Cipango—Medieval European name for Japan.
Coal River—Powder River, NE Wyoming to SE Montana.
Coaxomulco—Coajomulco—town on road from Mexico City toCuernavaca, Mexico.
Column Tower River—Belle Fourche River, NE Wyoming.
Concon River—Aconcagua River, C. Chile.
Coosa River—Coosa River, NW Georgia to C Alabama.
Cozumel—large island off the NE coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in SE Mexico.
Cuauhnahuac—Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
Cuautla—town about 25 miles ESE of Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Cuba—Cuba, West Indies.
Cusabo River—Chattooga, Tugalu and Savannah rivers, Georgia—So. Carolina Border. Cuttatawomen River—Rappahannock River, N Virginia.
Cuzco—the Inka capital, still so named in S Peru.
Daagelman River—Rogue River, SW Oregon.
Dark Boiling Creek—Donaker Creek, W Montana.
Deep Cut River—Hay River, NW Alberta, Canada.
Dehcho River—Mackenzie River, W Northwest Territories, Canada.
Donostia—Basque name for San Sebastian in NC Spain.
Dsidsila’letc—Salst (Duwamish-Salishian) village on site of modern Seattle, WA.
Duwamish River—flows through Seattle, WA.
Dzilam—Dzilam Gonzalez—small town near NC coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in SE Mexico. East Chesapeak River—East Branch Elizabeth River, SE Virginia.
East Tsoyaha River—Cumberland River, SE Kentucky, N Tennessee to NW Kentucky. East Union River—Black Warrior River, W. Alabama.

Estatoe—Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) town below junction of Chattooga and Tallulah rivers in NW South Carolina.

Etiwaw River—Wando River, SE South Carolina.
Etnemitane River—Umpqua River, SW Oregon.
Feather River—Rosebud Creek, S Montana.
Fujian Province—province in SE China across the Taiwan Straight from Taiwan.
Fuzhou—port near Charleston, South Carolina.
Gaztela—Basque name for the province of Castile, C Spain.
Georgbalikh—port on site of Lima, Peru.
Gichigami Lake—Lake Superior.
Gipuzkoa—Basque name for the province of Guipuzcoa, NC Spain.
Great Bay—Chesapeake Bay, Virginia and Maryland.
Great Falls River—Sun River, W Montana.
Great Open Place Among the Mountains River—Big Hole R., W Mont.
Great Sea—the Asiatic term for the Pacific Ocean.
Great Sound—Currituck, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sounds, North Carolina.
Guanahani—Lucayo name for “San Salvador” Columbus’ first landfall.
Guaura River—Huaura River, WC Peru.
Haton Xauxa—capital of the Inka province of Wanka, modern Jauja in SC Peru.
Hehlashishe River—Wabash River, W Indiana.
Henribalikh—port on site of Valparaiso, Chile.
Hewaktokto River—Little Missouri River, SW North Dakota.
Higuey—province in SE Aiti (SE Dominican Republic).
Hokomawanank River—Roanoke River, S Virginia to NE North Carolina.
Hopitu River—Colorado River, Colorado to Baja California, Mexico.
Hormuz—Arab city on the north shore of the Straight of Hormuz SW Iran.
Horn River—Tongue River, NC Wyoming to SE Montana.

Huanuco—northernmost Inka province at the time of the second book, 1460. It was centered around the city of the same name in C Peru.

Huatanay—western of two rivers that framed Inka Cuzco.
Huaxteca River—Tamesi River, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Huaxtepec—(Oaxtepec) town 21 miles E of Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Huaylas River—the Santa River in WC Peru.
Huichahue River—S Chile, flows into the Tolten River.
Ignacebalikh—port on site of Puerto Montt, S. Chile.
Imaklik—Big Diomede Island, Bering Strait.
Inaklik—Little Diomede Island, Bering Strait.
Inuit Bay—Hudson Bay, NC Canada.
Inuna-ina River—Assiniboin River, S Manitoba, Canada.
Ipai Bay—San Diego Bay, SW California.
Isadowa River—Canadian River, NE New Mexico, NW Texas to C Oklahoma
Ishak River—Sabine River, NE Texas to SW Louisiana.

Itsati—a Cherokee town (Echota) located on the south side of the Little Tennessee River below Citico Creek in Tennessee (Monroe Co.). Several other Cherokee towns shared the name but this one was the first and most important in the time frame of the books.

Itsati River—Little Tennessee River, SW North Carolina to E Tennessee.
Kaachxana-aakw—Tlingit village—modern Wrangel, AK.
Kadohadacho River—Arkansas River, SE Colorado to SE Arkansas.
Kaidubalikh—port on site of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Kalinta River—Salinas River, WC California.
Kalinta-ruk—village near mouth of the Salinas River, WC California.
Karakorum—the old Mongol capitol, in NC Mongolia.
Karamuren River—the Mongol name for the Amur River, SE Siberia.
Karamuren River – the Rio Negro in central Argentina.
Kasihta River—Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers, W Georgia to NW Florida.
Kayung—Haida village on Graham Island, BC, Canada.
Kensistenoug River—Sheyenne River, E North Dakota.
Keowee—Ani’ Yun’-wiya (Cherokee) town near Port George, South Carolina.
Keowee River—Keowee and Seneca rivers, NW South Carolina.
Keres River—San Jose River, WC New Mexico.
Khanate River—Athabasca River, WC to NE Alberta, Canada.

Khanbalikh—the Mongol name for Tatu (later Beijing), the Yuan Dynasty Capital of China. In the books it is also the name of the capital of the Khakhanate of the Blue Sky, in the area of Sioux City, Iowa.

Khartsgaibalikh—(Hawk City)—town that evolved from the old Hawk Ordu, near Riverdale, ND. Khereekhot—(Mongol for Crow Town) Baie St. Paul, Quebec, Canada.
Khilbalikh—(Mongol for Boundary City) settlement on site of modern Brownsville, TX.
Khon Khereebalikh—(Mongol for Raven City) port on site of San Francisco, California.
Kimooenim River—Snake River, NW Wyoming to SE Washington.
Kitikitish River—Neosho River, E Kansas to NE Oklahoma.

Kituhwa—the principal city of the Cherokee. It was on the Tuckasegee River near Bryson City, North Carolina. Although the individual Cherokee towns were independent, this one held a sort of primacy of dignity if not authority. It was held to be their first town in the area after they migrated from the north.

Kitwilksheba—Tsimshian village at mouth of Skeena River in WC BC, Canada.
Koryo—old name for Korea.
Koryo River—Sutton Creek, W Oregon.
Kubilai River—Susquehanna River, C Pennsylvania.
Kujujuk—port near Houston, Texas.
Kuli—now Calicut, a Medieval kingdom on the SW coast of India.

Kuriltai Balikh—(Kuriltai City)—village that was founded on the site of the proclamation of the Khanate of the Blue Sky about 9 miles NNW of Blue Ridge, AB, Canada.

Kusa River—Coos River, SW Oregon.
Kutcha River—Porcupine River, NE Alaska, N Yukon Territory, Canada.
Kwakwakas—Kwakiutl village on west coast of Guilford Island, SW BC, Canada.
Kwesh River—Brazos River, C Texas.
Kytmin—Inuit name for a mountain on Cape Dezneva, NE Siberia.
Laha River—Laja River, C Chile. It flows into the Bio Bio.
Lambayeque River—the Chancay River, NW Peru.
Lanka—Sinhalese name for Ceylon, modern Sri Lanka.
Lapurdi—Basque name for province of Labourd, SW France.
Leni Lenape River—Hudson River, E New York.
Liamuiga—St. Kitts, West Indies. The name means “The Fertile Island.”
Liao River—Liao River, S Manchuria.
Limari River—N Chile.
Little Sungari River—Milk River, NE Montana.
Lollelhue River—S Chile.
Longjiang—port and shipbuilding center in north Norfolk, Virginia.
Madinina—Martinique, West Indies. The name means “Island of Flowers.”
Mahican River—Mohawk River, C New York.
Malacca—Medieval kingdom on site of modern Melaka, Malaysia.
Malindi—Medieval kingdom on site of modern Malindi, Kenya.
Manta—principle town of the tribe called Manta on NW coast of Ecuador. Maricao River—W Puerto Rico.
Mataquito River—C Chile.
Mathilde Lake—Sutton Lake, W. Oregon.
Maule River—C Chile.
Maullin River—S Chile.
Merkit River—Madison River, W Montana.
Mexcala River—Balsas River, Southern Mexico.
Michigamaw Lake—Lake Michigan.
Mingue Lake—Lake Ontario.
Missi Sipi River—Mississippi River, NC Minnesota to SE Louisiana. Mixquic—town 7 miles SW of Chalco now on the SE edge of Mexico City, Mexico. Moche River—NW Peru.
Mongol River—Missouri River, SW Montana to EC Missouri.
Montauk Island—Long Island, New York.
Murenbalikh—“Cahokia” near East St. Louis, Illinois.
Nanih Waiya—sacred place of the Choctaw, now a historical site in EC Mississippi. Naishandina River—Bighorn River, N Wyoming to S Montana.
Nanjing—port and shipbuilding city near Everet, Washington.
Nansamund River—Nansemund River, SE Virginia.
Naparoa—Basque name for the province of Navarre, NC Spain.
Nashanekammuck—small Wampanoag village on Capawake (Martha’s Vineyard), in SW part of island.
Nauset Peninsula—Cape Cod, E Massachusetts.
Nikwasi—Cherokee town on site of Franklin, North Carolina.
Nimipu River—Salmon River, N Idaho.
Nitsiza River—Liard River, SW Northwest Territories, Canada.
Nomo River—Boise River, C Idaho.
North Aniyunwiya River—Shenandoah River, WC Virginia to NE West Virginia. North Branch River—Henry’s Fork, S Idaho.
North Chahicks River—North Platte River, SW Wyoming to E Nebraska. North Chesapeak River—Lafayette River, SE Virginia.
North Dzitsiista River—Red River, W Minnesota to S Manitoba, Canada. North Numakiki River—Knife River, C North Dakota.
Ocheti Lake—Mille Lacs, E Minnesota.
Onawmanient River—Chickahominy River, C Virginia.
Onon River—NE Mongolia to SE Siberia.
Ottawa Lake—Lake Huron.
Otumba—town 8 miles east of Teotihuacán, Mexico.
Owl River—Republican and Kansas rivers—E Colorado, S Nebraska to NC Kansas.

Pachachaca River—a tributary of the Apurimac River in SC Peru. It formed the eastern border of Inka Andahualya Province.

Pah-Chu-Laka Falls—Shoshone Falls, SC Idaho.
Palta River—the Huancapampa River between the Chotano River and the Maranon rivers in NC Peru. Pacatnamu—Chimu city near mouth of the Jepetepec River, modern Pascamayo, NW Peru. Pachacoto River—small river emptying into the upper reaches of the Santa River in WC Peru. Pansfalaya River—Pearl River, CS Mississippi.
Panuco River—Panuco River, San Luis Potosi to Vera Cruz, Mexico.
Paula River—Judith River, C Montana.
Paulpa—Digueno village on site of San Diego, California.
Peaku River—Pecos River, E New Mexico to W Texas.
Pensacola River—Conecuh and Escambia rivers, S Alabama to NW Florida.
Pioje River—Napo River, NC Ecuador to NE Peru.
Pissasec River—South Anna—Pamunkey River, C Virginia.
Plains Oxen River—Elkhorn River, NC to E Nebraska.
Posol-mi—village at south end of San Francisco Bay, WC California.
Potomac River—Potomac River, N Virginia.
Powhatan River—James River, S Virginia.
Pyeyek—Inuit name for Cape Prince of Wales, W Alaska.
Red River—Red River, N Texas to E Louisiana.
Ruin River—San Juan River, WC New Mexico to EC Arizona.

Sabino—Abnaki village on west bank of the Kennebec River near its mouth. Home village of Aspenquid, brother-in-law of Karl (the Crow) in Book 2.

Saint Jean de Luz—coastal town in SW France.
Salmon Sound—(Tsagaalzh in Mongol)—Puget Sound, NW Washington.
Salst River—Flathead, Clark Fork, Pend Oreille and Columbia rivers, W Montana to W Oregon & Washington. Salt River—Saline River, S Arkansas.
Saturiwa River—St. Johns River, NE Florida.
Seagull Lake—Mercer Lake, W Oregon.
Secotan River—Pamlico River, E North Carolina.
Seet Kah—Tlingit settlement at modern Petersburg, AK.
Setacoo—Cherokee town near Decatur, Tennessee.
Sewee River—Santee River, Congaree—Santee River, C South Carolina.
Sharbalikh—(Ox City)—town that evolved from the old Plains Oxen (Bison) Ordu, near Culbertson MT. Sharitarish River—Smoky Hill River, W to C Kansas.
Sharp Bitterroot River—Bitterroot River, W Montana.
Shining River—South Fork and Sun rivers, W Montana.
Siksika River—South Saskatchewan River, S Alberta to C Saskatchewan, Canada.
Sitka—Tlingit village on Baranoff Island, SE AK.
Small River—St. Regis River, W Montana.
South Aniyunwiya River—Hiawassee River, N Georgia to SE Tennessee.
South Chahicks River—South Platte River, SW Wyoming to E Nebraska.
South Chesapeak River—South Branch Elizabeth River, SE Virginia.
South Dzitsiista River—Minnesota River, SW Minnesota.
South Fork River—Clark Fork to Flathead River, W Montana.
South Numakiki River—Cheyenne River, W South Dakota.
South Salst River—Coeur d’Alene—Spokane rivers, N Idaho, E Washington.
Sparkling Cold Seeking River—South Fork, Flathead River, NW Montana.
Stampede River—Muddy Creek, SC Nebraska.
Stikine River—(Great River in Tlingit) from NW BC, Canada to SE AK.
Stono River—Cooper River, E South Carolina.
Sungari River—Sungari River NC Manchuria.
Tacatacuru Island—Cumberland Island, SE Georgia.

Tamalameque—capital of Khanate of the Clouds, between modern towns of Mata de Cana and Regidor on east bank of the Magdalena River in NC Colombia.

Tamoan Chan—Southern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
Tatar River—Gallatin River, W Montana.
Tauxenent River—Bull Run Creek—Occoquan River, N Virginia.
Tegulunbalikh—port on site of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Tenayuca—town at the end of causeway leading NW from Tlatelolco. It is now part of Mexico City, Mexico.

Tenochtitlan—the southern of two island cities in the WC part of Lake Texcoco, settled by the Mexica, leading tribe of what became the Aztecs. It is now part of the center of Mexico City, Mexico.

 

Teotihuacán—ruins of a large ancient city about 32 miles NE of Tenochtitlan, with well-preserved pyramids and other structures. The name means “City of the Gods” and the site was revered in precontact Mexico. Tepeapulco—town 26 miles ENE of the site of Teotihuacán, NE of Mexico City, Mexico. Tepexpan—town 24 miles NW of Tenochtitlan (center of Mexico City, Mexico). It was near the NW shore of Lake Texcoco.

 

Tepeyac—town on mainland connected to Tlatelolco by a causeway leading NE of the city. Now it is part of Mexico City.

Tepozteco—mountain just north of Tepoztlan, Mexico.
Tepoztlan—town NE of Cuernavaca, Mexico. It is the legendary birthplace of Quetzalcoatl. Tezontepec—Villa Tezontepec, a town about 50 miles NE of Tenochtitlan (center of Mexico City, Mexico. Thanuge River—Rio Grande NC New Mexico to SE Texas.
Theodorbalikh—port on site of Talcahuano (near Concepcion), Chile.
Titskan River—Atascosa River, S Texas.

Tlacotenco—town about 25 miles SSE of Tenochtitlan (center of Mexico City, Mexico) just north of the Tlaloc Volcano and just west of its extensive lava beds. It is now part of Mexico City.

 

Tlahuac—town on southern shore of the peninsula jutting into Lake Texcoco from the east. It is now part of Mexico City.

 

Tlatelolco—northern of two island cities in the WC part of Lake Texcoco, settled by the Mexica, leading tribe of what become the Aztecs. It is now part of the center of Mexico City, Mexico.

Tlayacapan—town about 20 miles ENE of Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Tolcayuca—town about 50 miles NNE of Tenochtitlan (center of Mexico City, Mexico).
Tolten River—S Chile.

Tonggye—town on western side of Mobile Bay, south of Mobile, Alabama. It was named for a province on the NE coast of Korea from which most of the Korean immigrants in the books came.

Tonggye Bay—Mobile Bay, SW Alabama.
Tsimshian River—Skeena River WC BC, Canada.
Tugaloo—Cherokee town now under Lake Hartwell in NE Georgia.
Tullumayo—Rodadero River—eastern of two rivers that framed Inka Cuzco.
Tulancingo—town about 70 miles NE of Tenochtitlan (center of Mexico City, Mexico).
Tultepec—town 15 miles north of Tenochtitlan (center of Mexico City), Mexico. It is now part of Mexico City. Tulyehualco—town on southern shore of Lake Texcoco at the southern terminus of the causeway to Iztapalapa. Tunessee—Cherokee town north of the junction of the Tennessee and Little Tennessee rivers. Tungus River—Marias River NC Montana.
Tutalosi—Kofitachiki town near Augusta, Georgia.
Tuxla—Putun Maya settlement at site of Santa Marta, Colombia.
Twanh Lake—Lake Erie.
Ukwunu River—Oconee River, C Georgia.
Uluumil Kutz—Northern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
Union River—Tombigbee River, W Alabama.
Urubamba River—a major river in C Peru.
Ussuri River—Ussuri River, SE Siberia.
Vilcas—Inka province SE of Angara around modern city of Ayacucho in SC Peru.
Viru River—WC Peru.
Wahili River—Altamaha River, E Georgia.
Wampo River—Chotano River in NC Peru.
Wan~ka-pampa River—Huancabamba River, NC Peru.
Warao River—Orinoco River, S to NE Venezuela.
Wazhazhe River—Ohio River, SW Pennsylvania to S Illinois to W Kentucky. Wendat River—St. Lawrence River, E Ontario & Quebec, Canada.
West Tsoyaha River—Tennessee River, NE Tennessee to W Kentucky. White Mountaintop River—North Fork, Salmon River, C Idaho.
Winnipeg Lake—Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Winyaw River—Yadkin and Pee Dee rivers, NC North Carolina to NE South Carolina. Wooded Lake—Lake of the Woods, Minnesota, Ontario and Manitoba. Xaymaca—Jamaica, West Indies.
Xequetepeque River—Jequetepec River, NW Peru.
Yagueca—town and province in W Boriquen (Puerto Rico).
Yaguez River—W Puerto Rico.
Yangzi—port on site of Boston, Massachusetts.
Yauhtepec—town about 15 miles ESE of Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Yecapixtla—town about 17 miles E of Yauhtepec, Mexico.
Yukanah River—Yukon River, Central Alaska, Yukon Territory, Canada. Yumabalikh—port on site of Baranquilla, Colombia.
Yuma River—Magdalena River, SW to NW Colombia.
Zheng He—port at site of S Manhattan Island, (New York City) New York.

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