Four or five days after our arrival I finally wrangled each camp into three main groups which would alternate duties as main force, reserve force, and scout and foragers each with their own war leader and a mix of seasoned and novice warriors. So it was late on the afternoon of that fourth or fifth day that Akake nearly stumbled over me stretched out supine on the river bank like an alligator sunning on a sandbar.
“What are you doing?”
“Just needed a moment to myself,” I mumbled. “Ungh,” I groaned and sat up.
Akake plopped down cross-legged with his back against the bole of a hickory. “Good thing you’re not Choctaw or the bone-pickers would be after you. You look awful. When did you last sleep?”
“Yech, I’d have to feel better to feel bad. Got a short doze a couple of days ago.”
“Huh, thought as much after I overheard you lambast that old Oconee war leader. He muttered something about not coming to Ocmulgee to take orders from a mewling snot nosed white stick from a ramshackle village of outcasts. You scornfully retorted, Elll..der this is NOT a hit and run raid or a little foray with a ragtag handful of warriors attacking from ambuscade then prancing back to the women like chest thumping heroes. This is a major campaign. This is WAR. You can muster as directed or you can go home. He blustered back, I should kill you where you stand. You replied with utter dismissive contempt, Later, I’m busy now. Muster or move on. Then you just calmly sauntered over to another group of newly arrived warriors while he sputtered like a speechless fool.”
“Ugh, I remember now. I’ve never spoken to an elder so rudely.”
Akake punched my shoulder. “Don’t fret it. If you hadn’t knocked the wind from that bag of wind he would have disrupted the muster of that whole camp. I hear you’ve got interpreters and one of Moore’s men assigned as a liaison for each of the towns that sent warriors. I assume that means your work is essentially done.” Akake stood up. He tugged me upright as he added, “Come on, I managed to talk Peaches into sending over a veritable feast for us. Eat, then sleep before you fall out.”
“Yes, mother. You’re as suffocating as an old mother duck.” I jested.
“Keep quacking. I’ll stomp the crap out of you like she stomped water from the earth.” He retorted with mock ferocity. “You do know Hopoyetly’s here?” He asked as we trudged back towards camp.
“Yeah… haven’t seen him but for each camp I just today installed a war henehv sent over by Hopoyetly. Fact, took a bit to placate some of the camps, especially the Muskogee speaking towns. A lot of the warriors were irate that Hopoyetly left the ark at Coweta. Each of the war henehv’s has a specially prepared war bundle, that soothed the uproar, but there’s still some under breath grumbling going on.”
“Yeah my understanding is the Coweta elders did not want their ark to be gone on such an extended expedition. I guess they figure it would become a target for Apalachee warriors and Spanish soldiers,” Akake commented.
“Probably didn’t want to let it go with such a mixed force either.” I added.
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