My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Fridays are a story told in parts. This story fluctuates between modern times and centuries ago.
LUMBER OF THE KUWEAKUNKS - part 2
The lieutenant governor adjusted the flower arrangement on his desk for the third time. Everything had to be just right for when his lady love arrived.
"Lieutenant governor?" David West knocked on the door and was waved in. "I have the latest report on the progress of the school. The wood so generously set aside will nearly suit all our needs."
David shuffled the papers, several falling to the floor. "Whoops, I, sorry about that. Just a moment. I have it here."
Clearing his throat as he rose from his desk, the lieutenant governor felt his good mood in danger of slipping away. "David. David!" He took a pause to smile as the man jumped back. "What is it you need?"
"Desks, Sir. We need to be able to accommodate as many students as possible. There are so many settlements now, but so few opportunities for a proper education. The leaders of tomorrow, great men like yourself, must have access to decent schooling. With proper planning, the Tuck Academy will be the envy of the world." He handed over the paper listing the remaining needs to open the school.
"The world? I daresay my alma mater will always hold that title."
David nodded. "New World, that’s what I meant. There’s a great need for a proper boarding school. Not nearly enough governesses to go around."
"Yes, yes. You said all this when the King’s Ear was last on our ground. That is how you got the royal endowment, is it not?"
"Sir, indeed. And the budget would have come in." David shuffled through the papers again. "See here? We were doing very well with the royal gift. Until," David glanced to the door and then back at the lieutenant governor, "the raid by the Kuweakunks."
The lieutenant governor growled. His meaty fist pounded his desk, causing the flower arrangement to bounce. "Thorns in my side! Daggers in the back of progress!"
Another man knocked on the door, letting himself in without waiting for a reply. "Sir, I have word. Both good and bad." He shut the door behind him.
"Out with it, Jonathan" the lieutenant governor roared as he flexed his knuckles.
"The governor has sent his thanks for the furniture." Jonathan passed him the letter of praise. "We have several orders for more. Some very important clients want our lumber used in the making of their furniture."
David clapped. "We’ll be known as settlement producing that which lasts the longest: education and fine furniture."
"Yes, yes," the lieutenant governor flopped into his chair. He rubbed his great stomach, deciding that he’d put another notch in his belt tonight. "What was the other news?"
"Runhhan wishes a word."
"Does he now?" The lieutenant governor sat up. "Ole Run-and-hide. I could spend a great deal more time looking in on the other settlements if he and his Kuweakunks would honor our agreements. Let him wait. It is time for tea, is it not, Jonathan?"
The door burst open knocking Jonathan unconscious. A shadow extinguished all light from the entranceway. The whites of two eyes were all that could be seen as the darkness broke into the room. Runhhan scoffed at the gathered men. His form was in full view now, though hunched over to account for the ceiling. "Kuweakunks honor agreements. Invaders lie." He threw six blankets at the gathered men. "You keep. Our needs met by Hokus. Cut no more trees to south."
"Runhhan, that is not what we agreed. My lumber mill takes what it needs. That is how we have trade." The lieutenant governor pointed to the blankets. He was unfazed by the hulking native. David, on the other hand, cowered in a corner, gripping a coat rack as if it were a sword or his mother’s skirt.
"Trade bad." Runhhan pointed south. "Hokus sacred. Cut no more."
"We must have trade. There is no iron here. I will not go over this again. Remove yourself from my office." The lieutenant governor opened a window and shouted for the physician as Runhhan left. "Pull yourself together, David. Runs-away is gone."
"He’s so," David shook his head, "I had heard stories, but I never believed." He wiped the sweat from his brow.
"Witchcraft," the lieutenant governor waved his hand. He took the coat rack from David and used it to push the blankets toward the fire. "I have no doubt of it. The Kuweakunks survive and grow to such a size only because of unholy magic. Reinforcements arrive soon, along with my lady. We will have peace. Check on Jonathan, will you? I need to burn these before we contract the pox."