Winter Tea Party winners: Angela's book,THE SCARLET COAT, will go to: Print copy- Andrea Stephens; e-book copy - Catherine Wight!

LUCY REYNOLDS has a table topper quilt on the way, and winners of the Valentine Ebook Collection are: Deanna Stevens, Caryl Kane, Anne Payne and Winnie Thomas. With thanks to all who joined in!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Part 5, A Forted Frontier Holiday: A Gift from Buckskin Samson By Kathleen Maher



While harvesting, the German settlement near New Market, Virginia receive warning of an impending attack by French and Indians war parties. They flee to a quickly cobbled refuge, Fort Providence—for they will surely need to rely on God’s Provision. The forted colonials long to celebrate the holidays and await the arrival of visitors. 
Each CQ contributor to this serial will bring their characters into the fort from throughout colonial America. Join us for A Forted Frontier Holiday each Monday CQ throughout the holidays!

Part 1 - Inside Fort Providence by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Part 2 - A Providential Proposal by Susan Craft
Part 3 - Landlocked by Carla Olson Gade
Part 4 - Preserve My Life From Fear by Elaine Marie Cooper

Part 5 - A Gift from Buckskin Samson

            The owl told him midnight approached. The coyotes had hushed their puppy-like yipping and scuttled back into the wood some time ago as Samson walked among his herds. The big, bald-faced mare had separated herself while the sun sank into the great mountains to the west, and he hadn’t found her hiding place yet. Her foal, once it dropped, would need protection from the hungry pack and from the nipping cold.
            Samson parted a hedge of honeysuckle and leaned in to listen. Labored breathing and a low moan told him he had found her. Gurgling and rustling told him the newest of his bloodstock was delivered alive. Between coyotes and wildcats, he had lost all the new foals born this spring. But this late arrival was different. He needed it to be. He looked to the overcast sky hiding the moon, and considered this one mercy from the Great Spirit for whom his French missionary friend had a personal name. He called him Jhezoos.
            Whether it was the lonesomeness of the night or the sentiment of this one promising birth on the new moon, Samson felt inclined to call on the name of this personal god.
            “For looking upon me with sun in the darkness, I thank you, Jhezoos.”
A smile cracked his weathered lips. The clouds parted and the moon revealed the scene before him. Curled in a clutch of rain-softened maple leaves lay a blood-bay foal with the same bald face as its mother. The mare cleaned her newborn, which struggled to gain its feet. It slumped back down and let out a high squeal, trying again to stand already. A vigorous and sound colt.
            Just beyond, the yipping arose again, even nearer than before. Samson hoisted his flintlock from his shoulder—the one for which he had traded a decent wheat-colored mare the summer before—and stepped back into deeper shadow. Movement in the silver woods drew his attention. The flitting between tree trunks and the scattered calls chilled his hope. These were not coyote, but Shawnee scouts on the prowl.
            Motionless, he pressed his back against the span of a large sugar maple and counted. One, three, no four.  There were four of them, their bodies wearing the colorless quality of the night, their feet making no sound. The larger herd behind him, Samson’s fingers clutched the gun and he wondered if the scout party served as lookout for a larger horse-thieving operation.
            He looked up at the moon, half covered again in charcoal snow clouds, and whispered a prayer to the Great Spirit he still hoped looked upon him with personal interest. “Great Jhezoos, protect my herds this night.”
            The owl screeched, and the footsteps distanced until they disappeared into the wilderness beyond. Another immediate answer to prayer.
            After several minutes, with the foal on his feet and suckling, Samson pried himself from his spot and set out to lead the two back to the herd for safety. He would camp all night in the valley of the daughter of the stars—the Shenandoah—and keep watch. In the morning he would set out for the white man’s settlement to warn Johan Rousch, the German who had traded with him. The Shawnee were on the move.
            Perhaps they would protect him and his herd within the wooden walls of their fort in exchange for something from him. But what? Samson could only think of one thing that the white settlers might want from him. How many horses would they demand in exchange for an alliance? That’s if they even trusted him. Could they distinguish his Cherokee blood from Shawnee? The color of his skin might build a barrier, not to mention his friendship with the French missionary.
            Samson’s thoughts drifted like the scuttling clouds overhead until the first wings of dawn flitted from the east. It was time to find Rousch and make the bargain, if the German was willing.
            Riding his buckskin stallion and leading almost 50 head of horses, Samson approached the fort from the southeast. The golden light filtering through the barren trees set the fresh pine stockade ablaze, and he squinted against the cold and the light blurring his vision. From the parapets he recognized a pair of sharpshooters taking interest in him. He dismounted, raising arms free of weapons in the air in a gesture of disarmament.
            Slowly, one of the doors opened, and a figure came out to meet him. The sharpshooters, still training their weapons on him, were joined by others in strategic openings in the wall. The man was Johan himself, a stout, bearded fellow at times given to a hearty laugh and handshake. But not this day. His expression was tight and grim. He stopped a few paces outside the walls and stood, waiting for him to approach on foot.
            Samson covered the distance in a few silent and efficient strides. Without mincing greetings, he set right out to business. “The night brought four Shawnee scouts. I come to bring you warning of their movements, and a gift.”
            Rousch lifted a shaggy eyebrow, but nothing else of the broadly muscled man moved.
“I bring you two horses loaded with provision. Venison, rabbit, gourds, beans, blankets.”
            The man’s expression lightened with apparent interest, both brows raised and eyes widened.
            “Come inside and we will discuss your trade,” Rousch said. He turned to the fort and the door opened, and both of them stepped into the enclosure.
            Many more people than Samson recalled seeing last summer had come and built small cabins within the enclosure. Women bent over kettles of food or laundry, children scampered in play. A boy appeared at Rousch’s side, perhaps five summers. The boy’s piercing eyes were the blue of a frozen river, looking up at him in a mixture of apprehension and stoutness.
            Samson withdrew a parcel from his bag for the boy—a small cap lined with rabbits’ fur—warm and snug for a boy his size. A squirrel’s tail dangled from the back as he held it out to the young one. The boy smiled, showing gaps in his front teeth. “Can I, Papa?”
            Rousch grinned and nodded.
            Those blue eyes lit like sparkling snow as the boy gazed up at Samson. “Thank you, sir!”
            His heart clenched a bit at the title of respect. “May you wear it in the strength and wisdom of Great Jhezoos.”
            The boy scampered off, his frosted breath puffing at a run toward the group of boys to show off his prize. If only the adults were as easy to win over as young, unbiased minds.
            The German led him to a long, central cabin where the sound of men’s talk rose through the log and daub structure. When the door opened and the two stepped in, the room silenced, and several of the men cast wary if not hateful glances his way.
            “Rousch, why are you letting that savage into our meetinghouse?” A man with red hair and particularly pale features sent a glare his way, his eyes the color of dead grass.
            Samson stood square, shoulders swept back. He schooled his features into a neutral but steady exchange with the man.
            “He makes talk with that frog missionary. You better watch that one, Johan.” This man was younger, clean shaven, and held the look of a doe stepping into open meadow. Hesitant, but a bit more open and expectant than the other.
            Samson tilted his chin up and waited for Rousch to speak.
            “The French worship the same God we Lutherans believe in, do they not? And I have traded with this man before. He has always proven fair and trustworthy.”
            “It could be a trap!” The first man shouted this time, and others gathered to him, nodding and voicing their assent.
            The young, bare-cheeked one looked between that crowd and Johan Rousch, and stepped beside the German. “If you say he is a good man, then I will trust your judgment.”
            A few undecided men joined the two.
            Rousch raised his voice over the rumble of voices. “Our visitor comes with a message and a gift to the fort. Let us give him our ear, gentlemen.”
            Samson cleared his voice and tossed his long hair behind his shoulder. “I have seen the movement of Shawnee this past night. Not twenty miles from here, they came under the clouds to search the harvest fields. You would do well to know your enemies from your allies.” He pinned the red haired one with a flinty look.
            “My people are Cherokee. I offer my gun and my strength to you this winter if the Shawnee make war. I also bring gifts of provision. Yours whether or not you give me and my horses shelter from the raiding parties.”
            The tone and pitch of the murmuring shifted. Samson folded his arms before himself to show that he was done and awaited their response.
            Rousch’s imposing form remained stalwart, but a muscle in his cheek danced in what almost appeared a smile. His keen gaze swept the room and settled on the red-haired man.
            The man extended one foot as though prepared to step in his direction. “What provisions do you offer?”
            “Two pack horses, loaded with supplies. Maize, venison, blankets, trade.”
            “There’s not room enough for all his horses, nor food to sustain us all.” The smooth-cheeked man said in a tone as flat as his broad forehead.
            “We can take a portion of the beans and corn to grow in the spring. We can use the venison and rabbit now, and employ his hunting skills to bring in more. But more than anything, we can use his knowledge of the land, and his offer to fight. I say he is welcome. Shall we put it to a vote? All in favor of welcoming Buckskin Samson and his gifts, say ‘Aye.’ ”

The next serial in this anthology, "Narrow Passage" by Pat Iacuzzi, will be up on December 10th.

Giveaway: This one is for followers only. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Laura Frantz's "The Colonel's Lady" and put CQ at the end.
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Kathy Maher won the ACFW 2012 Genesis contest for historical fiction.  She contributes to Fiction Addiction Fix and blogs at History Repeats Itself. Kathy is one of our newest CQ contributors!




           
           
           
           
                 
               

46 comments:

  1. I saw Carrie's post about the next installment of this story, so I came right over.
    Kathy, your contribution to this story is wonderful. I could totally picture everything that Samson experienced on his way to the fort. I am sure they will let him stay at the fort and help them.
    This story just keeps getting better and better. Can't wait for Pat's serial! CQ
    debsbunch5[at]jesusanswers[dot]com

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! Your kind words have warmed my heart on this crisp December morning. I pray you have a wonderful Christmas season. Thanks for being a faithful visitor!

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    2. I pray you have a wonderful Christmas season as well, Kathy! God bless.

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    3. Kathy, this was very well-written, and drew me in to the situations and scenarios. Felt like I was right there, witnessing the story as it unfolded.
      Just when I wanted to read more, it ended! That's the mark of a good writer! More! More!

      (I have to use "Anonymous" as a replier, because I have no clue how to attach myself to these other "profiles." Matt T.)

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  2. I enjoyed your Part 5 of this Anthology, Kathleen. Glad Samson and his horses made it to the Fort. And, I think these men would be wise to listen to him. After all, he knows the Shawnee much better than these farmers. And, for sure, if they do attack the Fort, they will need every gun they can get,
    I'm loving this story. CQ Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

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    2. oops! part of my comment got cut off so I am reposting!
      Thank you, Maxie. Samson is obviously being pursued by the Lord and has done something very hard to do for most of us, offering his gift with no strings attached. I do hope they offer him sanctuary in the fort.
      Thank you for visiting and I pray you have a Merry Christmas!

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  3. Love this! Each chapter is a jewel in itself, but they are stringing together into a magnificent necklace. Congratulations to all the contributors. Wow!

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    1. Judith, you are so eloquent! Thank you for stopping in today, and for celebrating this blessed holiday with us.

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    2. Such a beautiful way to put it, Judith. Kathy wrote a wonderful chapter.

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  4. Kathleen, your lovely description had me chilled and reaching for a blanket! Of course now I have a herd of horses to worry about, too!

    Lovely. I'm so glad you ladies decided to do this!

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    1. Thank you, Debra! Huddle together with us in the fort and sit yourself by the fire. A warm mug of spiced cider is coming right up! :)
      thanks for visiting and for your kind remarks. Merry Christmas!

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  5. Great story, Kathleen! I love this installment. Thank you so much, you guys, for this anthology. It's great. Will it be published in the future?
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Amy. I am so glad you enjoyed this chapter. The other gals are so terrific, I was afraid I was going to be sent to the stocks for delinquency. LOL
      I can only hope that some wonderful publisher would pick up our anthology. That would be amazing!

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  6. Love's Reckoning is the book I would like to have as I have a copy of The Colonel's Lady? On Carrie's recommendation I ordered a copy of The Frontiersman's Daughter! So, should I win I would like to trade for LR! I am loving this serial! God provides for them; shelter for Buckskin Samson with his horses and supplies for the fort so selflessly given. And that they have previously met and stand on each other's word. May they all agree.
    Judith! I love your comment, "Each chapter is a jewel in itself, but they are stringing together into a magnificent necklace." How exacting!! A thread in the tapestry, so blending!
    Thank you, each one of you, for your continuing story. So enjoying them. I am a Google Friend Connect follower. I see my little window up there with the brown hearts hanging down. Kathleen CQ
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. Hi, Kathleen! I am so blessed that you stopped in today and blessed us with your cheerful presence! I just got done reading Love's Reckoning a couple of weeks ago. It was good!
      Hope you get your very own copy soon. :)

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  7. This is the first chapter of the anthology I have read, guess I should go back and read the others!

    CQ

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    2. Patty, you are going to love the other chapters. The other ladies have done a wonderful job with their stories and unique characters. They really get one in the mood for the holidays.
      Lord Bless, and thanks so much for coming by!

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  8. Kath!!! I totally agree with both Debs -- you hooked me in so fast that I was there!! Within mere sentences, my warm, 67-degree lower deck disappeared into a bitter cold, moonlit woods, taut with tension!! Great job, my friend, and great addition to a wonderful story.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I am humbled and blessed that you enjoyed, er, were hooked by it! Maybe "enjoyed" freezing is a stretch. ;)
      It has been a privilege to participate in this fantastic project!

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  9. Kathy, this chapter is awesome! Like Debra, now I'm worried about the horses, especially the new foal. And will everyone accept Buckskin Samson? There are some hot tempers here! Can't wait for the next installment...

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    1. Thank you, Elaine! You are so sweet and supportive. I appreciate being here today and hope it was enjoyable. I know what you mean about the little foal. I want to snuggle it with a warm blanket. :D

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  10. Oh, Kathy, Kathy!

    Absolutely LOVE this! Forget Calgon--"Buckskin Samson" takes me there! I've loved horses since I was a child, and want to know what happened to the foal too, Samson's past, and his future at the fort. As I told Carrie--I'm just glad he's on our side :) You've set up a lot of compelling questions!

    They've all become such real people to me....
    Thank you!

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    1. Pat, you are so sweet, and FUNNY! Thank you. :D I agree, there are few things as attractive to me as a young, handsome (and yes, native) man who loves horses. heehee Shhh, don't tell my dear husband, who is terrified of horses. ;)

      I hope Samson gets to meet a nice lady who will make him happy and settle down. Maybe there is a young widow at the fort who will need a strong and tender man to provide for her? hmm, one never knows.

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  11. Beautiful writing, Kathleen! Thank you for your gift to us! No need to enter me in the drawing, I already have The Colonel's Lady. Thank you!

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    1. aw, thanks, Jocelyn. That means a lot to me. :)

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  12. A lovely addition the anthology, Kathleen. I enjoy how the different characters and individual stories are woven together.

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I am so glad I wrote it before I read all of the terrific entries, or I would have been intimidated.

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  13. Kathy, I enjoyed this so much! Beautiful writing and you had me hooked immediately. I can see why you won the Genesis!

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    1. Aw, Lisa that is so sweet of you. Thank you.
      This has been so good for my writer's soul, after a hard rejection this week. God always knows what we need. :)

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  14. KATHLEEN, I can't wait to read your first published book! I was going to say I can see now why you won the Genesis, too, but since Lisa already said that, I'll just say "ditto!" :) You had me hooked and left me hangin'!

    Please don't enter me for anything, I just wanted to stop by and put in my two cents worth!

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    1. Diana, I just want to give you a hug! Thank you, sweetie. ((cyber hug))

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  15. Great post, Kathy!!! And I am fortunate because I got to read it early on--weeks ago! Thanks so much for joining us at CACW and on CQ and contributing to this serial anthology. So very glad to have you onboard!!!

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    1. Carrie, the blessing is all mine to be here. Thank you for always being so gracious and generous. I am humbled to be included among the great writers here, and so grateful for the kind words and support from all the visitors. Thank you!

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  16. Hey Carrie and Kathy! Loving this anthology! And Kathy I loved this installment. I was almost mad at you when it ended. Of course I couldn't really be mad at my bf. ;o) But I did think about it. heehee

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    1. If I've made the kindest lady in the world mad, then I hope my writing is to blame! LOL Thanks for coming by, Debbie Lynne. We will have to convert you to a Colonial writer. muahahahaha

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    3. Sorry about that! I posted in the wrong account. "sigh" So what I deleted was...It was your writing! Or should I say lack of giving me more. :o) You ladies have done an awesome job with this anthology. I give it a two thumbs up!

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  17. Nicely done, Kathy.

    Are you a story teller or something? :-)

    And it would seem there are other writers here as well. Good job on the anthology.

    blessings on your writing and your holidays.

    Tina P

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    1. Ha! Tina, you are a hoot! I'm just hoping the others' skills will rub off on me here. :D
      Merry Christmas, my friend.

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  18. I've loved reading this anthology so far. What a neat project you all have created! Kathleen, you were able, in such few words, to put me on the side of Samson. I was ready to stand up for him against his opposition!
    may_dayzee (AT)yahoo(DOT)com
    CQ

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    1. Thank you, Kay. We all love an underdog, don't we? :)

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  19. I really enjoyed reading this part of the serial. I love that you added a Cherokee to the mix.

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    1. Thanks, Deanna. I'm so glad you came by and that you liked it.

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  20. This is such a great idea! Enjoying it! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com
    Veronica-CQ

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