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08 April 2009 @ 10:42 am
Taming The Beast  
"Nothing was the way Alvin Miller Senior thought that it would be. He'd imagined shooting his musket at the same screaming savages who cut up and killed his boys. But the city turned up empty, and they found the Reds all gathered in Speaking Meadow, just like they was ready for a sermon from the Prophet. Miller never knowed there was so many Reds in Prophetstown, cause he never seen them all in the same place like this. But they were Reds, weren't they?
So he shot his musket all the same, just like the other men, firing and reloading, hardly looking at whether his shot hit anything. How could he miss, them all standing together so close? The bloodlust was on him then, he was crazy with anger and the power to kill. He didn't notice how some of the other men were getting quieter. Shooting less often. He just loaded and fired, loaded and fired, stepping a yard or two closer every time, out from the cover of the forest, out into the open; only when the cannon got moved into place did he stop shooting, make way for them, watched them mow great swaths through the mass of Reds.
That was the first time he really noticed what all was happening to the Reds, what they were doing, what they werent doing. They weren't screaming. They weren't fighting back. They were just standing there, men and women and children, just looking out at the White men who were killing them. Not a one even turned his back to the hail of shrapnel. Not a parent tried to shield a child from the blast. They just stood, waited, died.
The grapeshot carved gaps in the crowd; the only thing to stop the spray of metal was human bodies. Miller saw them fall. Them as could, got up again, or at least knelt, or raised their heads above the mass of corpses so that the next blast would take them and kill them.
What is it, do they want to die?
Miller looked around him. He and the men with him were standing in a sea of corpses-- they had already walked out to where the outer edges of the crowd of Reds had been. Right at his feet, the body of a boy no older than Alvin lay curled, his eye blown out by a musket ball. Maybe my own musket ball, thought Miller. Maybe I killed this boy.
During the lulls between cannon volleys, Miller could hear men crying. Not the Reds, the ones still living, huddled in an ever-smaller mass down toward the river. No, the men crying were his neighbors, White men standing beside him, or behind the line. Some of them were talking, pleading. Stop it, they said. Please, stop it.
Please stop. Were they talking to the cannon? Or to the Red men and women, who insisted on standing there, not trying to escape, not crying out in fear? Or to their children, who faced the guns as bravely as their parents? Or did they speak to the terrible gnawing pain in their own hearts, to see what they had done, were doing, would yet do?

It wasn't just a whimper behind him anymore. It was a shout, from more and more men. Stop shooting! Stop it! Put down your guns!
A bugle sounded. The men fell silent. "Time to finish them, men!" shouted Harrison. He was on a prancing stallion at the head of the meadow, leading the way down the blood-slick hill. None of the farmer folk were with him, but his uniformed soldiers formed a line and came along, bayonets fixed. Where once thousands of Reds had stood, there was just a field of bodies, and maybe a thousand, a ragged remnant, gathered near the water at the bottom of the hill.
That was the moment when a tall young White man ran from the wood at the bottom of the hill, dressed in a suit too small, his feet bare, his coat and waistcoat all unbuttoned, his hair wet and tousled, and face grimy and wet. But Miller knew him, before he heard his voice.
"Measure!" he cried. "It's my boy Measure!"
He threw down his musket and ran out into the field of corpses, down the hill toward his son.
"My boy Measure! He's alive! You're alive!"
Then he slipped in the blood, or maybe he tripped on a body, but whatever happened he fell, his hands splashing into a river of blood, spattering his chest and face.
He heard Measure's voice, not ten yards away, shouting out so every man could hear him. "The Reds who captured me were hired by Harrison. Ta-Kumsaw and Tenskwa-Tawa saved me. When I came home two days ago, Harrison's soldiers captured me and wouldn't let me tell you the truth. He even tried to kill me."
Measure spoke slow and clear, so every word carried, every sound was understood. "He knew all the time. This whole thing, Harrison planned it all along. The Reds are innocent. You're killing innocent people."
Miller stood up from the bloody field and raised his hands high over his head thick blood running from his scarlet hands. A cry was wrung from his throat, forced out by anguish, by despair. "What have I done! What have I done!" The cry was echoed by a dozen, a hundred, three hundred voices.

From - The Red Prophet, by Orson Scott Card
A soul lesson worthy of the Bene Gesserit.

I think to be so brave as the Native Americans were in this story, one has to believe that what one truly is, Spirit, is immortal. This story also reminds me of the many brave men and women, and even children who died a witch's death, at the stake, or a heretic's death and taught the world tolerance. I think the greatest army is an army of consciousness, an army of great minds and wise tongues.

Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
- William Shakespeare
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