One of my friends recently read the original of this. She kindly reminded me that I had promised a sequel…that I have not made. So I was rereading the story and decided that I could rewrite it with its ending in a better way! There really is no excuse for the delay that this is taken. All I can say is I hope that you will enjoy it and the improvements made to it! The story has been changed to be a oneshot.
The wind was brisk against his face as John Smith looked out at the shape of the new world that was slowly being revealed before him. The mists were clearing and he could see the new land that he would discover and explore. He smiled as he looked at the tall trees, the darkness of the forests, and the sharpness of the rocks. The way the waves from the sea pounded against the land invigorated John. He felt like those waves. Like he was pounding against something, like he was trying to break free. He heard Thomas came up behind him and smiled at the young man "Well Thomas, what do you think of your first new world?"
The young man flushed up at his mentor. Ever since John had saved his life he had been his man since. He and the other men were loyal to John above anyone; even the Governor. He looked out at the growing horizon and smiled "It looks amazing….Do you think this one will be different?"
Turning to look at him Smith smiled and shook his head "I've seen hundreds of new worlds Thomas…what could possibly be different about this one?"
The ship landed against the ground and the men scrambled to secure it. All of them were rejoicing at the solid feel of land and the fresh smell of trees. It had been months since they had been off the ship and they had never held greater appreciation for land. The sea would always be their home…but everyone enjoyed a vacation.
John wasted no time in setting off. He hadn't come all this way to look at it after all. He put on his helmet and secured his gun before picking a good looking direction and heading off. He found deer paths and other animal trails to follow. He had learned long ago that was the best way to get around in an unknown area.
With the Tribe
Kocoum was pleased that the tribe was once again safe. It had been a long and weary battle. He was glad to be home. He knew that the chief was proud of him for his bravery. He had stood proudly during the ceremony that honored him for his strength. However while he was being marked he thought about the truly brave men. The ones who had died to protect the tribe. There had been many who were braver than him. The only difference was that he had lived…and they had died. He accepted the honor for them; not for himself.
He stayed long enough to show his appreciation. But as soon as he was able he left. He needed the peace and quiet of his forest home. He had missed it much during his time fighting their enemies. He closed his eyes and absorbed the sounds and smells. It was glorious to him. He sighed as he slowly opened his dark eyes. This was what he had fought for. To be back home and bask in its beauty and safety.
He remembered how after the ceremony the chief had taken him aside and expressed his hopes that he would ask for Pocahontas's hand. To please his chief he had formally asked for her with the hope that her independent spirit would spare them both a loveless marriage. He had known Pocahontas all her life. They would be terrible for each other. However it would please his chief if they were married and he knew that he would do his best to take care of her and make her happy.
For now…he was not thinking about his possible future. He was basking in the joy he held for being home safe and sound and knowing that his people were safe as well. He made his way down to the riverbank. He would enjoy a brisk swim to help him clear his mind
He dove into the river and let the current carry him. There was nowhere on their land that he did not know. All of it was familiar to him and loved by him. He had closed his eyes and floated along when he heard a sound that brought him out of his drifting state. He quickly moved his way silently to the river bank and hid behind a rock. There was something in the forest.
Just as he knew every inch of this land he also knew every animal out there. None of his men would be so loud and careless in the forest…and no animal sounded like that. He narrowed his eyes as he saw a form approaching. What was that?
John had followed the deer path to a nearby river. He wasn't surprised at the destination and was glad for it. He was a bit thirsty and this land was rocky causing him to sweat a bit. He knelt by the river side and splashed some water into his face before taking a few sips of it as well. He felt the hair the small hairs on the back of his neck rise and he looked around suspiciously. He was being watched.
Slowly his hand edged towards his knife but it was stopped by another hand on his and a knife to his throat. He looked out of the corner of his eye and saw a savage looking down at him. He was dripping wet so he must have been in the river shortly before his arrival. The savage gave him a sharp jerk and said something roughly that he didn't understand.
He soon figured out that he wanted him to follow when he began to pull him along. He looked around. In his current position he couldn't reach any of his weapons and he was certain that his men were still at the shore. He began to call out when the savage made a bird like noise.
Savages arrived quickly from the trees and helped the savage who had captured him bind him with robes and gag him. He narrowed is eyes. It was obvious that this one had some sort of command over the others. If he was going to take a hostage he would be the one.
The savage was dressed somewhat similar to the others he had seen. Just as the French and English had similar but different dress styles so did the savages it seemed. He was wearing some sort of skirt that looked like it was made out of animal hide. On his chest were red markings in the shape of animal prints. His hair was long but a section of it was cut short and a tall feather stood proudly from it.
His face was hard set further proving he was a warrior. He seemed more given to frown than smile from the lines on his face and his dark eyes matched his black hair as they looked hard down at him. He then realized that he was being stared at. All of the men around him were distinct but shared the same coloring. He smirked; he knew that he was a strange sight to their eyes.
They dragged him off to their camp. He tried to memorize the way but it seemed that they were used to taking prisoners. They led him down several different trails and back again until he was thoroughly disoriented. He frowned, they were obviously smart. If they had better weapons he might actually be worried about his men.
So far all he had seen were stone knives and simple bows and arrows. He shook his head almost feeling bad for them. Once his men attacked those weapons would be useless against guns. He hoped that they were smarter than the other savages he had come across in his travels and give up their land to move instead of giving up their lives for it.
He looked around and saw that he was brought to the center of this village. People came out of strange hut like tents and looked at him with different mixes of emotions. He was surprised to see that they were mainly wary and curious…not aggressive. He looked p and saw what was obviously the chief before him.
The one who had captured him came forward and began to speak to him quickly. The chief obviously valued his opinion for he listed to him closely. However despite how urgently the one who had captured him was gesturing the chief seemed to be hesitant to act. He shook his head and pointed to a tent. It was obvious that whatever was decided did not please his captor. His captor gave him a dark look but roughly led him to the designated tent. He was bound to a pole in the middle of it. He expected harsh treatment. Instead, while he was bound he was given pillows to sit on and a blanket over him presumably to keep him warm in the cold. He was even more surprised to see that his captor was the one to do this for him. He narrowed his eyes. He didn't think that they intended him any harm…so what were they going to do with him?
Kocoum looked down at the stranger. He was not pleased with the Chief's decision to hold him until a formal council meeting could be held. However he respected his Chief and his decision so he took him to the tent and made sure that the stranger was comfortable. He was not a animal after all. He had been asked by the Chief to see after their guest and so sat down on a pillow across from him.
He had to admit…the stranger was interesting. He had never seen someone who looked like this before. He had bright hair…golden like the corn, pale skin, eyes like the sky. He was very strange looking. Did all of his people look like him? Did he bring them with him? It was clear that he did not speak their language so there was no way to ask. He sighed inwardly; he supposed that if he had to stay in the tent with him he might as well be productive with his time.
He noticed that the stranger had been watching him as closely as he had been. He frowned and gestured to himself "Kocoum." He then motioned towards the stranger, hoping he would understand.
John was surprised at the overall gentle treatment he had been given. He was almost ashamed to admit that if their situations had been reversed…the same courtesy wouldn't have been extended. He was even more surprised when the savage…or rather his captor had begun to try to communicate. He figured that 'Kocoum' was his captor's name. It was a strange name…He decided that he had nothing else to do…if they figured out a way to communicate maybe he could get out of here.
He shrugged his shoulder due to his lack of hands and said "John, John Smith."
Kocoum frowned at him and his dark eyes were slightly narrowed in thought "Kocoum…" He repeated gesturing to himself "John John Smith." He said motioning to John.
John sighed; this was going to take a while.
At the growing fort Ratcliffe had noticed the absence of his designated explorer. Smith annoyed him but the man did have his uses. He certainly hoped that the man had not gotten lost or some nonsense. Though the thought of that did amuse him it would be a terrible hindrance to him. When the sun began to set he scowled in annoyance. It was well past a decent time to report back and the men were starting to get unsettled. He finally gave in and commanded Wiggins to gather a small group of capable men to go and look for Smith. He hoped that the man hadn't gotten into anything too troublesome.
A few days later—With the Tribe
At the village John was having his hands released so that he could eat his dinner. Of course Kocoum would be eating with him as well…but it had been nice to see they would be feeding him. He wondered what was happening back at the settlement. Had they sent out a search party for him?
He looked down in confusion at his meal. It was food he had never seen before. Although after months at sea anything that wasn't hard tack and gruel was very welcome. He spooned some into his mouth and gave a hum of approval. He noticed that there was something golden in the meal that reminded him what he was here for.
He took a few more bites before digging into his pocket. Kocoum looked up at him sharply but didn't strike. They had built up some small trust between them. They had also spent some time learning each other's languages. He had started to like Kocoum a little bit. The man was obviously admired by his fellows. Throughout the afternoon several younger men and even some boys had come into the tent asking him questions which he answered patiently or gave short demonstrations.
He had also learned that this tribe had recently finished a battle with their enemies. That certainly explained their heightened caution. He had also picked up that Kocoum was the star warrior that had helped win the battle…still he seemed almost uncomfortable with the attention.
So when he reached into his pockets Kocoum gave him the benefit of the doubt. He pulled out one of the few gold coins he had left and pointed to it "Gold. This is why we are here…Do you have any?"
Kocoum looked down at the gold piece curiously and carefully took it out of his hand. The warrior looked it over and tapped it a few times before shaking his head and giving it back. "None."
They had learned enough to have stilted conversations. Though Kocoum seemed more determined to learn his language so they spoke it most. John sighed. Kocoum was not the type to lie that much he knew. With his rank and the amount he had traveled if Kocoum said that there was no gold…then there was no gold.
Kocoum frowned when John Smith seemed to become discouraged at the information. He took a bite of his own supper before asking "Why do you want?" John's language was hard and confusing, but he was not only a warrior, he knew several other People's languages, why not learn this strangers? He was proud he was picking it up so fast.
John thought before answering the question. Why did they want the gold? Personally the gold had never interested him that much. He simply wanted to go out and explore the world. The fact that he got paid to do it was a bonus…but not the sole reason. He had thought it was because countries needed gold to survive…but this culture didn't. It wasn't as sophisticated as his own maybe…but it worked. Their life was simple so their needs were simple. He had to admit it was admirable.
Kocoum waited for John's answer and was surprised when he seemed confused. He thought over the new words he had learned. He thought he had asked the question clearly…had he spoken wrong? He tried again "I am not clear?"
John looked up and realized that he hadn't answered the question he had been asked. He shrugged and set aside his food. It was really good…much better than a lot of stuff he'd eaten. He looked up at the curious dark eyes looking back at him and said "No you are being clear. I just…I haven't ever wondered why. I like the land more than the gold."
This Kocoum understood and he almost seemed to smile as he nodded "Yes…Land warm, with life. Gold…cold."
John looked up at that simple sentence. It was true he realized. He looked into those dark eyes for a moment as realization crashed down upon him. Kocoum was not the type to smile idly…but speaking about his land had brought a true smile to those normally serious lips. He felt guilt fill him as he imagined what his men were doing to that beloved land right now…what they would continue doing. Chopping down trees, damming rivers, digging up the ground and more. These people had learned to live with the land…How he could have ever thought that they might simply leave it? They would die trying to defend it. Kocoum would die to defend it.
Urgency began to fill him. He had been missing from the camp several days by this point. They would assume the worst and kill the first of Kocoum's people that they came across asking no questions…If that happened then outright war would be unavoidable. He looked at Kocoum, willing him to listen to him. "Kocoum…My men, I've been gone too long. They will think you have killed me if I do not return. You have to take me back. I have to talk to them."
Kocoum looked at John seriously. It was a lot but he thought that he understood most of it. "You must return…or war." He knew exactly what John was trying to say.
He shook his head "Brothers still coming…council meeting must be held…" There was no way to return John to his people without disobeying his Chief.
John could see the struggle that Kocoum was facing and risked moving closer to the other man. "Ask him…If you must then come with me. But I have to talk to them or else it will be too late."
Kocoum was uneasy about this. He had learned much about John in the past few days…he was a good man. He put his head on his fist as he thought. He would have to explain to the Chief…but if he did go with John then the Chief would allow it…and they would be followed secretly by his men of course. He looked up at John and nodded. "Yes."
John waited impatiently as Kocoum left to talk to his Chief. Kocoum had to bind his hands again but he understood. He only hoped that he could still convince his men. When Kocoum re-entered the tent and unbound him he had his answer. He looked at him and asked "Can you lead me to my camp?"
Kocoum nodded and they moved swiftly out of the village "We have been watching your people…" He said tensely "They hurt the land…tear it up…why?" He tried to keep the emotion from his voice.
John regretted the hurt that he heard. "No time now…" They neared the camp and John was glad to see that Thomas was on duty. He motioned for the young man to be quiet when he looked like he was about to call out.
Thomas couldn't believe his eyes when he saw John come out of the forest. He felt fear clench his heart when he saw a savage following him and tried to call out. John shushed him and quickly put a hand over his mouth.
"Thomas…I need you to listen to me. This is a friend…I need to talk to Ratcliffe and the rest of the men. There is no gold!"
Thomas looked unsure but he did trust John. "Alright…so what should we do? We can't take him in there…" He looked at the savage uncertainly.
Kocoum tried to follow most of the conversation but some parts he didn't understand. "Why can I not enter? We are not enemies…Should be safe."
John looked at Kocoum and wished that his men were as honorable as Kocoum's people. But sadly that wasn't the case. He shook his head "You stay outside…I'll come back."
Kocoum frowned, that was not the deal he had made with his Chief. He had promised not to let John out of his sight. He shook his head "No…" He was going to say more but his words were stopped as one of the other guards saw them and sounded the alarm for savages. The guard thought that Kocoum was holding John captive and forcing Thomas to let him in.
John cursed when the men came pouring out and surrounded them. Kocoum was already in a defensive position but didn't attack. Both John and Thomas tried to calm the others down before Ratcliffe could come. They were trying to explain but it was already too late.
Several of the men had grabbed Kocoum and forced him down onto his knees as they took away his weapon and held his arms behind his back. They were speaking too fast and loud for him to understand and his own words made no sense to them.
John turned at Kocoum's cries and came to the other man's side "No release him! He's not our enemy!"
The men looked at him in confusion and loosened their grips on him when Ratcliffe made his appearance. "Well done Smith. I admit I feared the worst when you had been gone so long but I am relieved to see the time was well spent. Now we can interrogate this savage and find the location of the gold."
John turned sharply at the sound of Ratcliffe's voice "No this is a misunderstanding. They had captured me but did no harm. They are merely curious about us. They even released me so that I could come and tell you what I've learned. There is no gold!"
The men around them began to murmur. No gold? They wouldn't have believed any other man but this was John Smith. He knew savages and it did seem that he wasn't harmed. Was it really the truth?
Ratcliffe could see his grip on the men was slipping and laughed loudly. "Of course! Good plan Smith…Earn their trust and bring us a hostage to use against them very well done! We won't ruin your little act of course the savage doesn't understand us anyways. Just tell us where the gold is…"
John came face to face with Ratcliffe "There. Is. No. Gold." He said again before turning to the men and barking "Release him!"
This time they obeyed. John hurried to Kocoum's side and helped him up and made sure that the other man was okay. Kocoum looked at him with hardened eyes and John shook his head "Mistake…" He whispered
Kocoum didn't know what to think. These strangers were rough and violent. But so far had acted in ways he could understand. He understood that this…Rat named man was their Chief, but not a good one. The men listened to John over him which Kocoum agreed with. The man reeked of greed. He looked at John and saw that his new friend was telling the truth. He nodded his head and gave the signal with his hand for his hidden men to stand down. There was no reason to attack. Yet.
John was relieved to see that he had not lost Kocoum's trust. It would be disastrous if that happened. He tried once more to reason with the men "I've stayed with them and spoken to them…There is no gold here they've never even seen it before! If you see how they live you'll know that I'm telling the truth. But listen to me. If we keep blowing up their land and chopping down their trees they're going to attack!"
The men listened to him and a few nodded their heads. They had been digging since they arrived and so far there was no gold. John was merely confirming their own thoughts. Looking at the savage that John had brought with him also proved it. He wore none of the ornaments that that the other savages they had heard of worn. There wasn't any gold on him and he looked like he was important too...
Ratcliffe sneered at the men "This is our land! Don't believe him you fools! The savage is obviously lying!" He stormed up to the savage and pointed his jeweled knife at him "They will do anything to save their gold."
Kocoum didn't budge when the rat man threatened him with a knife. It was clear that he was not a fit leader as even his own men tried to pull him away. His eyes widened when he heard the almost silent approach of his men. His gaze darted to John trying to warn him.
John caught the glance and gave an extra push to get Ratcliffe away from Kocoum "Enough! Stop this if you keep this up they'll…" It was already too late.
Blood curdling calls echoed around the forest as Kocoum's men charged forward. They had seen it all and knew that there was a power struggle taking place but they would not risk Kocoum's life in the middle of it.
The men from the camp reacted without thinking and drew their guns as they began to fire shots. It was guns against arrows. Kocoum's men were better shots so more of their attacks hit but the power the rifles had was deadly. Several men got shot though not in lethal places. Kocoum pulled away from the group towards his men as he tried to defend the fallen ones from more shots.
John tried to shout at them to stop but they were no longer listening. He turned and saw that Ratcliffe was grinning darkly but he had no time to attack the man as he was soon being dragged away. This time not so gently.
Kocoum got his men out of their quickly. These weapons weren't natural. Just like the way the men lived wasn't natural. He was supporting one of his warriors who had gotten hit in the leg. He saw that John was being forced along with them and quickly told his men that John had tried his best to stop the fight. They listened and their handling gentled.
They got the wounded man to the medicine man that began to work on him quickly. The Chief looked down at his fallen warrior and shook his head. "They attack our land and now our people…"
John tried to follow what the Chief was saying…something about land and people. He looked for Kocoum and saw that his friend was already speaking quickly to his chief. He shook his head, both sides would blame the other…He knew that Ratcliffe would stir up his men against these people and they would attack…for him. Ratcliffe would use him to inspire his men to attack, that was just the way the twisted man worked.
Kocoum moved to speak to his Chief "They are not all bad men…Their leader is bad but the men are loyal to John Smith…They released me at his command and took his word over their leader's…"
The Chief was surprised to see this change in Kocoum. He had thought that the man was too hardened by battle to ever see options clearly. It seemed that his time with the stranger had changed him for the better. It was only sad that this welcome change would come when there was no other choice but to fight. "We must be prepared that they will attack us…if they do not we will try to talk with them…but I think the time for talk has passed."
Hearing their Chief's words the men began to ready for battle. All of the men who had seen the stranger's weapons hoped for peace but knew that these were violent men to use such weapons. Kocoum watched them and moved John back to the tent he had been staying in.
John was grim, he understood enough to know what was going on. They were only going to defend themselves if they had too…But he knew his men would attack…it was the way they had been taught to respond to savages. But these people weren't savages…they were people. He looked up at Kocoum "Will you fight?"
Kocoum sat down by his friend there was no longer any reason to restrain him. "Yes…If my people are attacked then I must defend them. It is my duty."
The thought of Kocoum fighting against guns with his arrows and stone knives made John go cold. He shook his head "You mustn't fight…You won't win."
Kocoum turned and looked at John angrily "They will hurt my people! They have already hurt my land but I forgave their ignorance!" He tried to move away but John's firm hand gripped his shoulder.
John pulled Kocoum back to him. He was surprised at the depths of his feelings…but couldn't deny them. Whatever this was between them…it was like the affection he felt for Thomas but stronger. Different. "You will not win." He said desperately.
Kocoum reached and covered John's hand with his own "I will fight if I must…" He seemed to hesitate "I am sorry."
Shaking his head John looked away. How had it come to this? Only a few days ago he had accepted that fighting between their people was inevitable unless these people moved to a different area. Now he would do anything to stop it. "If my men attack let me come with you…I'll try again to stop them…"
Kocoum looked uncertain and seemed to think over how he should respond. He looked like he was about to deny when he stilled. John was cupping his face firmly and forced him to look directly at him "If you go I go…Understand?"
Kocoum looked into John's strangely blue eyes and felt something move in him. He had never felt this way looking at any of the women of the tribe. Not even Pocahontas whom the Chief wanted him to marry. He rarely showed hesitation but John made him hesitate.
Seeing the emotions that were flicking in those dark eyes John leaned forward "Promise me. If you go I will go with you…"
The intensity of the moment only grew stronger when he noticed how close he was to Kocoum's lips. Spending months at Sea ever since he was young had taught him that there were many different ways to love. He had enjoyed all of his encounters…but the emotion he was feeling for Kocoum was more than lust.
Those blue eyes gave him no other choice and Kocoum reluctantly nodded his head "I promise…" He didn't like it…but he knew that even if he bound him John would find a way to the battle.
"Good." John said before firmly sealing his lips against Kocoum's. He closed his eyes at the sensations that coursed through him. He decided that then and there that this promise was more than about this battle. If Kocoum wanted to join him when he returned to London that was fine…if he wanted to stay here with his people than John would too. Where he went John would follow.
They broke apart and John was pleased to see a new emotion on Kocoum's face. The usually expressionless man looks startled and breathless…there also seemed to be a light blush on his cheeks that thrilled John. He smirked and rubbed his thumb over the slightly swollen dark lips. He was about to speak again when in the distance he heard the drums of war.
Both of the men rushed out of the tent and in the dawns light saw that all the warriors were ready to fight. The Chief looked at them and sadly shook his head as he gave the command for them to move towards the enemy. Kocoum didn't hesitate as he quickly retrieved his weapons and moved to join his Chief at the front. John joined them.
They marched until they reached a cliff where the forest ended. John felt his heart sink when he saw his own men come out of the forest all of them loaded with guns. He turned to Kocoum "Let me try to talk to them…one last time."
Kocoum looked to his Chief as he translated what John had said. The Chief took a moment to look over the strangers that stood before them. He knew how deadly their weapons were. He looked at his own people. Their weapons were strong…but he believed his people were stronger. Still he didn't want to test that unless he had no choice. He nodded his head for John to speak to them.
John nearly sagged in relief as he came within sight of his men "They don't want to fight! They are only defending themselves! They're willing to talk with us…to make a deal."
The men below were relieved to see that John was still alive. Their relief turned to anger, not only was he alive…the savages hadn't hurt him at all! They all turned to the Governor. He had lied to them! He said that the savages had attacked first, that they would kill Smith, and that they would kill all of them. The warriors and Chief were all out here to see and not one of them wore any gold! They didn't want to fight.
Ratcliffe paled when he saw the emotions in the eyes of the men surrounding him. "It's a trick you see! They want to keep the gold for themselves! Shoot!" Not one of the men obeyed his command. Feeling panic and desperation he grabbed one of the guns from the men and pointed it at the Chief. He would rather shoot Smith for all the trouble the man had caused him but he needed the savages to prove that they were just animals waiting to attack.
John saw here the gun was pointed and shouted at the men to stop him. They reacted and took the Governor down as he fired a shot. John moved to protect the Chief but another form was already in front of him. John thought he felt his heart stop when he heard Kocoum cry out in pain.
The men had bound Ratcliffe and looked to see who had been injured. John knelt by Kocoum who was on his knees gripping his arm. His men had been about to attack when they saw the way the strangers reacted. Kocoum's friend had been telling the truth. The strangers didn't want to fight anymore than they did.
Kocoum was wincing in pain as John forced is hand away from the wound. John spoke softly into his ear "You have to let me see it…Come on…"
Slowly the hand covering the painful wound moved and John was relieved to find that it was a graze…a deep one. It had been enough to knock the bullet harmlessly off track and cause damage to Kocoum's arm…but it was not a mortal wound if treated properly.
Biting his lip to hold in the pain Kocoum looked up at John. The Medicine man had not been able to treat the other man's leg. He said that the wound was too strange for him to work on…his only hope laid with John's people…that one of them could treat it.
Reading the silent question John nodded "We have a medic…he can take care of this…"
Both sides were calm as they watched as Kocoum was treated. He tried to hide the pain and John's strong arm around him helped him bare it better. He was relieved to hear his arm would be fine. John translated what the medic was saying. He had even said he could work on the other man's leg. There was hope for them to live in peace after all.
When Kocoum was finished being treated Thomas gingerly came up to John's side "So…will you be coming back to the camp then John? The men are eager to have you back among them…"
Giving the younger man a bright smile John reached up and shuffled his hair "No Thomas…But I promise to visit every day…I have somewhere else to be now."
Kocoum looked up at him in confusion until John leaned in and whispered in his ear "Wherever you go…I follow."
John was pleased to see the blush that surfaced on Kocoum's dark skin. He wondered what other things he could make his warrior do. He would just have to find out in their new tent.
Thank you all so much for reading this! I know that most (or all) were expecting a lemon but I have written this several times and the lemon just seemed forced and hokey. I hope that the story itself made up for it! Thank you again for your extreme patience with me!