The Peacemaker

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The New City – later named “New York” after the ol’ Duke himself, but I suppose that’s common knowledge, eh? As is the Hudson river being named after that bloody flowery English poet, can’t remember his full name, but let me tell you this: Henry Game sailed down the “Hudson” long before that fucking prancing clown did. Still, you will probably have noticed that my name has been redacted from histories, most of them anyway.
Yes, the New City, as I was saying, was a place very much in transition in the year of 1555. The New City was choking, stuck in the clutches of the Old World
The French had their grubby little digits in there – the natives, the, ahhh, the league? The six nations? O’ I can’t remember what they called themselves now. The French called them the Iroquois, I think – them, those bastards, the “Peacemaker”, their leader, he introduced himself to me, in French, whilst smiling to my face, was anything but his namesake.
My vessels were docked out of the bay, long boats moored against the shabby piers. The crew, most of them anyway, remained with the boats whilst myself, Skelton, the black one and the remaining two Merks, accompanied the Indo-French welcoming party that waited on the banks, passive aggressively, it was the cannons levelled against my darling Mary that gave me that impression.
We were in no condition to fight. Provisions were low, too low to chance being turned away without re-stocking. I guess I had no choice but to go parley with the Peacemaker.
I’ll translate into English, in the interest of clarity, the Peacemakers words:
“Welcoming of you, to the New World. Where do your hearts of love belong?” He sang, weirdly, whilst shaking his bony arms in the air, feathers and beaks clacking on his necklace.
He was asking if we had been sent as an emissary, I deciphered.
“Peacemaker, I am Henry Game, friend of no King, captain of the-
I stopped talking as the French commander whispered into the ear of the colourfully decorated Peacemaker. It was terribly rude of him to cut me off like that, but then again he was French.
The Peacemaker laughed harshly, suddenly the tension in the tippee was thick. The native warriors stiffening up in response. I wondered if laughing over here was a bad thing?
The French commander stepped aside, red faced and sweating, he avoided my stare, it was obvious he knew me.
I suddenly felt disappointed. I was hoping for a fresh start in the New World. Shame.
Suddenly the Peacemaker stood, all theatrical, all beak, bone and paint, he spat into his palm and offered it toward me.
Naturally I shrank back from such vulgarity.
“Be welcoming, Henry Game, slayer of Popes!” The tippee erupted with celebrations, all except the Frenchman, but I heard a rumour once that French men don’t know how to clap?
I stepped forward, looking the Shaman in the eye as I spat into my own palm and slapped my spit against his.
He smiled at me, leered at me even, bleeding gums and what looked like bits of egg shell stuck in his teeth.
And just like that, we were welcomed to the New City, French cannons lowered, grudgingly, and the crew were brought on land.
I made sure to keep a skeleton crew active, just in case. Skelton was only too happy to keep the ships ticking over. He had good sense did that old bastard.
The French weren’t happy about all this.
But neither were the natives. I just didn’t know it, but I soon found out. Jesus Christ did I find out…

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