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  1. #1

    The Embattled Apache Wells (Part 1)

    Long before written word was forgotten, generations before written word was scripted, for millennia spoken word and stories were passed from generation to generation in the Tahoe Basin. From the lips of each elder came grand stories of great tribes from many lands who used this basin as a means of trade, travel, and mysticism. For thousands of years the Washo people used the area as a center for trade during the summers, while heading east over the mountains to hunt in the fall. While many various smaller tribes branched from the Washo, they all considered the Basin as their ancestral gathering grounds.

    On the eastern shores of the lake, civilization was booming. The entire grounds are still revered and considered sacred. To the north and south of the land, two pristine drop-and-pool rivers skirted the perimeter, creating a naturally defensive position. And to the east, steep mountainsides provided a narrow access point to the village. The six hot springs that discharge into the six waterfalls have now retracted, though remnants of such therapeutic hot springs still feed the waterfalls that skirt the area to the north and south. Merchant trade began to centralize around the area. With the lake waterfront on the west perimeter of the village, a wharf system was developed to accommodate longboats, canoes and kayaks from water merchants. With great wealth, came great envy.

    After nearly six thousand years of prosperity, a larger tribe much farther to the south, was under assault. Their Creator was angry with them. Years of drought and disease ruined their hunting grounds and farm fields. Ravaged by the years of hardship, the Apache were forced to move northward to pursue a new beginning on more fruitful ground. The leaders knew of the Washo tribe from other travelers whom they traded their textiles and dried food with. They heard of great stories of opportunity, stories that they were willing to wage war over to assume control of. It was not uncommon for the Apache to take what is needed to survive. Some considered them savage, though from their perspective they were fierce and efficient. No one could argue with that.

    It took the Apache an entire spring to displace their families, crops, and animals; an entire summer to travel up the valleys and in the shadow of the great mountains to get to the Washo in the Tahoe Basin; and an entire three weeks to decimate the Washo. The Apache were swift and efficient. They systematically raided each outlying village until the last week, when all Apache were directed to decend on the last of the great merchant village. Even outnumbered three to one, the Apache were confident that this great city would fall quickly. As the warriors on horseback surrounded the perimeter, in a great moment of leadership, the Warrior Chief WyldHorse of the Apache held back their advance. He alone, mounted on his horse and went to the Chief of the Washo, and said, "Your people are free to leave, but never to return to these grounds." The Washo Chief nodded in acknowledgement, turned his horse to look back at his wife, children and ancestors to reflect on the decision. Realizing the continuance of his people far outweighed the importance of the land they stood on, he returned his gaze at the Warrior Chief and returned, "So it shall be." The Washo dislocated from their ancestral homeland that solemn week and with only their basic necessities, settled at the foothills of the Great Mountains, where their great-great ancestors hunted, and once again, called home.

    The Apache brought to the Basin farming and textiles, something the region only traded for. For generations they lived in and around the surrounding areas. Relishing in their isolated success, the Apache lived quite some time in the comfort of their great migration. It wasn't until black-cloaked, pale skinned and balding men with white collars brought in disease and a contradiction to their beliefs, their very foundation of their culture.
    Last edited by Deatu; 11-22-2017 at 02:08 PM.

  2. #2

    The Embattled Apache Wells (Part 2)

    "Is this the place Friar?" exclaimed the young Novice Monk. Novice O'Lowery squinted and put his hand over his eyes to shield the sun. The massive lake reflected its rays like a glowing shield in the late afternoon. Friar Beirne looked up and from the dusty trail he was walking on. With a walking stick in hand, he took the opportunity to take off his wide brimmed hat with his spare meaty hand to fan himself as sweat dripped profusely on his large forehead and down his rosy, portly cheeks. He was in no means prepared physically for the long journey from the East. Huffing, and barely comprehendible, he mumbled a curse and a prayer under his breath as he limped his way to the saddle where Novice O’Lowery stood. “We have been climbing all day, with all these previous false hopes of the pass at each ascent, we must be in Purgatory as there is no end to this!” he thought. But his pessimism and doubt quickly cleared as his short rounded frame crested the saddle to where the Novice stood. Below them, several thousand feet down, the great expanse of the Tahoe Basin opened up beyond the sugar pines and chaparral. The haze from the heat blurred the western shore of the lake, but it was clearly evident that they had nearly arrived at the lake they had been directed to establish a Monastery on.

    Three days later, the Friars were on level ground and found themselves approaching an opening in the tree line. Their pack mules were laden with heavy books, clothes, sparse remnants of salted meats, tack bread and a lone donkey responsible for carrying a small cask of beer on each side of the small beast of burden. The Apache had silently observed the party ever since a lookout on the peak sent notice to the tribe three days earlier. Various archers were staged just out of site in ambush points along the trade route to their main village. A lone elder and medicine man walked on foot to greet the two holy men and their pack train to purify them with sage before entering their hallowed ground. While portions of the spoken stories have been lost during this time, it is believed that the commonality of reverence between the Apache and the odd, pasty men forged a similar bond which allowed them to stay near their village for the remainder of the year.

    “It’s been over two seasons now Friar, do you think it’s time to start teaching the Apache about our necessity for a Monastery? The Brotherhood instructed us to construct immediately and I fear that we are terribly behind schedule.” Novice O’Lowery ‘the worry wart’ questioned. “I told you all in good time!” yelled Friar Beirne. His quick Irish temper always flared when he was challenged on any of his decisions. The Apache were much more difficult to convert than he anticipated. In fact, only the youth seemed receptive about one faith, one Creator. “At this pace, it would take generations to convert the populous to our cause.” thought Friar Beirne as he looked down at his plans, flipping a gold coin over and over in deep thought. “That’s it!” he yelled…

    Eight years into his build date, Friar Beirne was anxious, very anxious. The Order was coming to visit on his progress this month and he was severely behind schedule. Realizing the surrounding mountains possessed gold, he had essentially minted his own coin to purchase the Apache labor in order build the ever growing monastery. While the tribe toiled away at a false promise of a share of the riches from the trade it would bring, hardly any member of the Apache truly shared the same beliefs as the two Friars. As Friar Beirne yelled and carried on the work being done, Novice O’Lowery continued the teachings of his faith to the youth. He tried to distance himself with Beirne as he began to see a part in their perspective of things. While O’Lowery himself still felt compelled to share his faith, he saw Friar Beirne becoming utterly consumed in the construction of the stonework. He hoped at some point he could see his mentor relax and again focus on his faith rather than his development.

    The group of five holy men gathered at the foundation of the tall monastery, each looking up at the stonework reaching into the sky. Friar Beirne and Novice O’Lowery fidgeted with their cloth behind their backs in nervous anticipation. The Apache Tribe had formed a semi-circle behind the two Friars, with their Medicine Man standing to the right of the greeting party. As the travelers approached, they noticed the spires of the religious school had no roofs, the furthest corner spire wasn’t even finished. The priority of their order was to have this place ready before they arrived, and Friar Beirne knew it. Despite setbacks and waning thin the patience of the Apache, the great monastery was too much for Beirne.

    “Greetings Brother Bennedict!” Berine said as he greeted his elder. “What news is this!?! In your letters you stated progress was well in time for completion!” exclaimed the eldest Friar. Expecting such a reaction, Friar Beirne began to list many excuses as to what the delay was, but his superiors were not having any of it. “We made this journey thousands of miles…” Friar Bennedict began before falling into a severe coughing fit. Another member of his party passed him a flagon of mead for him to sip before he finished, “…thousands of miles for naught! You were explicit in your instructions. You KNEW and knowingly lied about your situation! You realize what a sin this is don’t you?!? My health is not well, and I am afraid that our Brotherhood will not be pleased with such news. As is such, we were intending to stay longer to recover, but with this bout of illness, I am afraid we cannot stay longer than to replenish and return to the east with this sad news. I would hope that by the time we reach home, this will be finished and our missionary work will continue. Sadly and with regret, I don’t expect your Brotherhood here will not last beyond our return journey.” Friar Bennedict finished. Friar Beirne tried to respond, but felt a grasp on his elbow. It was Novice O’Lowery silently encouraging him to remain silent.

    The next day, a solemn exit occurred at the gatehouse of the Apache-built monastery. The Brotherhood quietly rode east on mule-back, with Friar Bennnedict slumped over his mule at the rear, coughing and pulling his cloak over his head. Only O’Lowery raised his hand in reverent departure. As they made the turn, Friar Beirne angrily stormed off, frustrated from the lack of progress and he put the blame solely on the Apache. “Damn them! They knew… THEY KNEW!” he thought angrily. Beirne quickly ascended the steps of the stonework, he was so angry. He wanted to watch the last of the party leave his hard-earned work. Taking each step higher, he began to feel tightness in his lungs, his fat body was not accustomed to such hard work. Taking a right at the top of the stairs, he went into the unfinished spire to watch the Brotherhood leave his territory. As he gasped for breath, he walked to the corner of the room where the walls only reached the first tier of brick above the floor. Gazing out the expanse, he saw Friar Bennedict bobbing and swaying with his mule. “Curse you, you cantankerous old fool!” mumbled the Friar. As if by some divine word, Friar Bennedict’s mule stopped. The profile of the cloaked man began to slump forward over his mount, and he fell to the side off his mule. Alarmed, Friar Beirne stepped closer to the precipice to see what had happened. As the other trail party members realized the Friar had fallen off his mount, Beirne began to panic. His heart began to race even more wildly than it was from ascending the large staircase to his perch. “What have I done?” he panicked. Taking a step back from the ledge, he clipped his heel on a brick that had not been set. Flailing manically, his pudgy leg, weary from the climb, did not have the strength to stabilize him from the fall. Shortly after Bennedict fell, dying of disease, Beirne fell to his death sixty meters below his failed vision.

    This was just the beginning of the heartbreak from the fall of the two Friars. O’Lowery was so distraught over the loss, he agreed to bury his mentor and his mentor’s mentor in the shadows of the monastery and return to the east. Sadly the party that was with Bennedict became overtaken by the same disease. The Brotherhood never made it home. They made it as far as the Washo hunting grounds before being isolated from travel due to a severe snowstorm. While waiting out nature’s fury, each Friar slowly succumbed to disease and death. Not even the Washo Medicine, Man called to assist them from another valley, was able to avoid the sickness. And, sadly, even the Apache and Washo succumbed to the same deaths as their visitors did over the next several years, leaving the Tahoe Basin and the Washo Valley void of inhabitants for years.

    The only remnants were the wood and stonework left from echoes past. The only sounds emitting from their walls are Osprey, the sound of waves lapping the shoreline, and the gentle babbling of the six waterfalls and rivers.
    Last edited by Deatu; 11-27-2017 at 11:40 AM.

  3. #3

    The Embattled Apache Wells (Part 3)

    "The Green Mist burnt my eyes. I mean it REALLY burnt the eyes, worse than sweat, worse than any sand... What was it? The smell was horrendous too, like Sulphur…. At least the higher I go up the Sierra Nevada's, the less noxious it becomes. My only hope is that my family survived... my god, my head feels like I sustained a concussion," Koal's internal thoughts were all he had left to keep him sane and feeling human as he wandered down the riverbed of the muddy waters of Glenbrook Creek, disoriented, confused and fatigued. In a state of shock, he staggered down the mountain side. Once familiar area fly-fished by Koal, he found the mist-shroud peaks confusing and foreign. A sense of relief overcame him as the mist cleared and the green haze parted miles to the horizon, revealing the blue expanse of Tahoe Lake. Again Koal thought to himself, “It’s so far… but I have no other choice but to drive on.”

    In another past, this place was known as Deadman Point, but the current state of apocalypse and Koal’s mental aptitude to understand and humanize the events that were utterly impossible previously to comprehend created shock and stupor. The world had been turned upside down and Koal found himself solely focused on the dichotomy of what he witnessed with the Mist versus his eyes which were locked on the placid, deep blue water that greeted the boulder-ridden beach. Stumbling to the last boulder above water, Koal collapsed to his stomach and stuck his face into the ice-cold lake. Nearly drowning himself to get a drink of the crisp, cool water, he shot up, gasping for air and coughing, “Ah! Oh damn!” As the sweat and water ran from his eyes, his vision slowly regained focus. Standing on the rocks above him, was a silhouette of a much smaller person than his six foot, five inch, two hundred and thirty-five pound frame. A smirking, coy silhouette.

    “The names Wyldstorm. Are you friendly?” the figure asked. Koal grabbed the front of his untucked flannel shirt and wiped the water from his face before responding, “You aren’t going to kill me?” The figure was in plain view now. Koal could clearly see a small brunette, perhaps five feet total, but she stood with a wide stance, had very clear tone to her shoulders and short but muscular legs. He wondered if perhaps she had been a gymnast in her past… “FWAP!” A shovel smacked Koal across his jaw, the sheer shock of the force immediately overwhelmed his senses as his vision blurred and reverted to black.

    “Wakey, wakey” the voice stated, as a stick poked into Koals kidneys, “Wake up!” Suddenly aware of the reality of the voice, Koal jolted awake. His surroundings were unfamiliar, it was dark. The only views that were not black, was the glow of the fire he sat in front of, the crackling and sparks flying effortlessly into the cold night. Occasionally the glare highlighted black granite walls. Seemingly out of the darkness emerged Wyldstorm again, this time with a water skin and food she had on a skewer. “Here, eat this liver and onions, drink when you can,” she demanded. “Why did you whack me with your shovel?!?” Koal asked. “Because I didn’t want to take the risk, you can’t trust people these days, now eat,” Wyldstorms voice became more sincere than demanding. Koal asked again, “So, you never answered my question. Are you friendly or not?” Wyldstorm laughed and said, “Do you want me to whack you again or did the first shovel answer your question?” Koal laughed, but it hurt. Everywhere. “The names Koal, pleasure to meet you. Where am I?” “Apache Wells, though I thought at some point this place had some religious context. Some abbey or something? All I know is this place has hot fresh water.” Wyldstorm responded. Koal laughed again, and again was greeted with the same pain as a few moments before.

    As Wyldstorm and Koal’s chance greeting continued through to dawn, it was apparent where they were. As dawn broke, the towering, ruined mass of stone that hundreds of Apache had chipped to create the old, unfinished monastery stood above rocky beach like a sentinal. The old wharf district on the water was nothing but rotting pylons and stone foundations. The river district to the north was not much better, only the stone streets and floors remained. The old Apache steam-vent which was coveted by the medicine men, and was piped over from the Friars to collect steam for a stove remained.

    For five years Wyldstorm and Koal, with the help of twenty other survivors, improved the tribal lands and each year brought new travelers, and new foes. Each year Apache Wells improved the surrounding areas, beyond the efforts of the old monks even. Though restoration efforts were underway on the districts surrounding ‘The Abbey’ as they referred to it, the districts remained unfinished before the sixth year. That particular year Koal had broken his ankle from a fall between the boulders at the beach while fishing and had to remain on tribal ground while the annual hunting party was guided by Wyldstrom, who preferred the comforts of the surrounding tribal land over the pursuit of Shadow Bear at the reaches of the green mist to the east. As the hunting party sharpened their picks and axes around the fire, Wyldstrom honed the edge on her shovel. Koal limped down from his hammock to wish everyone a good hunt that day, as was customary.

    “I wish you all well, with full meat baskets and fur pelts on return!” Koal proclaimed to the hunting party. The tribemates cheered and drank to their health, while Wyldstorm smirked and nodded in approval. “We will return in a fortnight, if we aren’t back by dusk, check up to the saddles. If we are gone longer than that, begin to worry.” Wyldstorm stated bluntly. Koal laughed and responded, “Well we have never been late to the return home. Let’s pray that the hunt on the Washo grounds are fruitful and you return before that…” Wyldstorm turned to Koal and said, “By the way, did I ever mention to you that I have Washo blood in my veins?” Koal, looking surprised responded, “I did not! What are the odds you would be leading our tribe to a hunt in your old grounds. I’m sure your ancestors would be proud of you.” Koal patted his hand on Wyld’s shoulder in fellowship, “All right then, best of luck in the hunt!”

    All but Koal left with a quick step outside the gates. It had been part of their custom to hunt each year. As part of that dependence on one another for survival, the forge the hunt provided galvanized their tribe. It pained Koal to see everyone so excited to partake but himself. It was wildly addicting to hunt Shadow Bear, though inherently very dangerous, it wasn’t new to the hunting party. Koal limped back to the log pile, tossed a small aspen log into the fire for the light before retiring back to the hammock to elevate his swollen ankle. As the gentle evening breeze swayed his net hammock back and forth, the crickets serenaded him to sleep.

    Each week that passed by, Koal marked on his stick. Each week he slowly worked his way up the Abby’s stairs to check the saddles and old roads. Each week the hunting party did not return. “How many weeks has this been? It must be over forty days…” Koal thought. He counted the stick again, “Crap… damn…” Forty-eight notches in the stick, forty-eight days. Gathering his pack, armor and axes, Koal locked the gate to Apache Wells before checking his pockets for flint, steel, and provisions. “Ok, let’s hope they are so overladen with bear that they are just slow to return.” Koal thought. It took him the remainder of the evening to crest the saddle before posting up on a rock at the top to sleep the remaining four hours before dawn. “Still no sign of them, but the creek beds on the other side of the mountains were always more productive, I will head down there next I suppose, though the terrain still pains my ankle. If I just take it easy everything should be ok.” Koal began thinking as he woke up. The morning was spent carefully navigating the previous year’s hunting grounds, working diligently to avoid rousing any wildlife or mutants. Being in a hunting party versus solo was unnerving to him.

    For three days he descended to the edges of the mist, and still saw no sign of the hunting party. The only sign was at the very edge of the mist was a weeks old fire-ring that held no warmth. Disheartened, Koal began to consider that perhaps the party had decided to hunt further to the north to avoid impacting last year’s hunting grounds. Retracing his steps, he began to work his way back to Apache Wells, half expecting to run across the party on the way home, or even more of a relief by having them greet him at the gates, knowing the plan he and Wyld worked out.

    “So, here we go. No sign of fires, but it is late morning. Though with the coolness of fall approaching, you’d think I would see smoke or smell cooking food or hear some activity.” Koal thought as he approached the Apache Wells gatehouse. “Hello!?! Anyone!!?!” Nothing… Koal heard nothing. Panicked, Koal limped back to the tribe, he canvased the districts, he went to the Abbey, no signs of any life whatsoever. He went back to the waterfront and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Apache! Ayie! Ayie!” their war-song. No response. Koal felt his eyes swell with hopelessness. Distraught, he tried to remain calm and struck a new fire at their central fire ring. As the flint sparked against the steel of his blade, the shavings began to ignite before the cold lake-front wind blew out the spark. “Damnit, come on!” he cursed. Another strike, this time it was a success. The small flames wicked the tinder and the fire began to come to its own life. As the wind picked up from the water, Koals eyes began to well with tears. It had been years since he felt so alone. Once again, everything Koal had, had been stripped of him, and again he was left isolated, mourning, and afraid. He was once again… alone.

    As Koal huddled near the fire, the distant call of a Red-Tailed Hawk screeched in the distance, its piercing cry echoing between the six waterfalls and rivers while the waves lapped the shoreline.
    Last edited by Deatu; 11-27-2017 at 11:50 AM.

  4. #4
    Xsyon Citizen Diomedes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Lake George, NY
    Amazing Job with this Koal!!! This is Tec/Achilleus btw :P
    Last edited by Diomedes; 09-21-2021 at 09:41 AM.

  5. #5
    Thank you sir!

  6. #6
    Part 3 is up.

  7. #7
    Xsyon Citizen Diomedes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Lake George, NY
    Part three was great as well!

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