Thursday, October 01, 2009

Seven #2.9

"The Lady of the Lake?" Seven asked.

"That's what I call her. I've never seen her but I know she's there, under the lake," Major Beam said.

"Maybe that's what my vision was about. How far is this lake?" Cassius asked.

"It's on my property, next to the tree line," Major Beam pointed.

"Can you show us?" Cassius asked.

"Sure. Follow me."

Major Beam led the way to the lake which Seven noticed was slightly smaller than the foundation of the house. The lake was fed by a nearly empty creek that emerged from the woods.

"This is the lake?" Seven asked, unimpressed. "It looks more like a pond. How is this...lake so full when barely any water is in the creek?"

"That's the strange thing. The lake is always full no matter what," Major Beam explained. "And it is the best tasting water you'll ever have. Go ahead, give it a try."

Seven shrugged and knelt down before the lake and dipped his hand into the water. He tasted the water and his eyes widened. "It is delicious."

"I can't understand why my visions sent us here," Cassius wondered.

"I don't know but you're here now. Stay awhile. I have a big house and a couple extra beds. It'd be an honor to have company," Major Beam offered.

"We can stay for a night or so but he have to head off to Indianola soon," Cassius said.

"Good! Come on in and I'll start supper," the three of them began walking back to the house.

"Act of War"
Samuel Vieux, George Robideaux and Ernest deBoissiere rode to Uniontown. Uniontown was a small but bustling city with men from the military constructing buildings and leveling out the ground for roads.

The three rode up to one of the men. "Excuse me," Samuel said. "Whose in charge here?"

The man looked up at them. "You must want General Baker. He's in the big stone building near the river," the man pointed behind him and toward a building that rose slightly over the other completed buildings in town.

Samuel, George and Ernest rode to the stone building and tied their horses up to the posts in front. They walked inside the building and saw only one person in the lobby.

"Is General Baker here?" Samuel asked.

"Yes, right up the stairs to your left and at the end of the hall," the man said.

"Thank you," Samuel nodded.

In General Baker's room, Samuel, George and Ernest sat across the desk where General Baker was sitting. On either side of him were Mitchell Soule and Jerome Houk--two of the major businessmen in town.

"Now what can I help you gentlemen with?" General Baker had a booming, boisterous voice which went well with his ample frame and bushy salt-and-pepper beard.

"We wanted to talk to you about your town," Samuel began. "Each of us have a pretty big stake in the town of Indianola about ten miles north of here."

"Yes, yes. Good town. Been through it a couple of times on military missions. Please go on," General Baker invited.

"A little more than thirty years ago, a group of Natives and the government signed a treaty allowing the establishment of Indianola. It also allowed for Indianola to have the only crossing across the Legionnaire River and gave us permission to charge a toll. Now I don't care that your town is here but the bridge will have to come down. It's in violation of the treaty," Samuel explained and then awaited an answer.

"The government sent me here to establish a free river crossing. They don't want to pay your toll anymore," General Baker said.

"And that's fine. The Legionnaire's only a twenty-seven mile river. Can't you build a crossing at it's terminus with the Republic?" asked Samuel.

General Baker smiled. "Now we thought about that. We originally staked out the junction of the rivers two miles south but in order to build a crossing that wasn't in violation of the treaty we would've had to build two bridges and that's just plain stupid from an economic standpoint."

"So you're blatantly violating the treaty?" Samuel asked.

"With the government's approval," Houk interjected.

"Your town is usurping our business and our travelers," Samuel said. "People may not like it but we charge a toll for the upkeep of our main road and bridge and the rest is placed in the city coffers for the townspeople to use during the winter elections."

"Honestly, why do you need that money? Taxes should be collected for road and bridge repair and property taxes should be used for any municipal projects," Soule said.

"That's why we collect the tolls so our people aren't burdened as heavily for those things," Samuel said.

"The tolls pay for important stuff. Last year the townspeople voted for a nice fire house with water pumps from the river. The year before they voted for a new city hall and the year before that a new schoolhouse and library. This year it looks like the winning choice is going to be a new stone bridge over the river," George said, trying to show the importance of the tolls.

"All of that could've been gained through bond issues," General Baker waved his hand. "We have the backing of the government to do this so you'll have to take it up with them."

"No we don't," Samuel stood up and George and Ernest followed suit. "In the treaty there is a clause where if someone--anyone--establishes a crossing along the river then the town of Indianola can consider itself under attack and can retaliate any way it chooses."

"Is that a threat?" General Baker barked as he stood.

"No, General. Just a warning..." Samuel and the others left the office, went downstairs and exited the building. They got on their horses and began to ride away.

Suddenly a gunshot rang out and deBoissiere's horse reared up, dropping deBoissiere. Samuel and George looked and saw Soule standing outside city hall with a gun. They looked down and saw Ernest had been shot.

"That was a warning, too," Soule said and went back inside.

Samuel and George leaped off their horses and saw that Ernest was dead. They placed him on Samuel's horse and began slowly riding back to Indianola.

"Now it's war," Samuel said.

Seven awoke to a soft humming. It was a luring humming and he immediately got out of bed and began following it out of his room, down the stairs and into the night.

The humming led him to the lake but he saw no one and the humming was the same volume it was when it was in the house. He looked at the lake and knelt down. The humming seemed to be coming from the lake. Almost unconsciously, Seven stuck his hand in the water and was suddenly grabbed and pulled in.

The Burning of Uniontown and Seven meets the Lady of the Lake.