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  1. The Rage Within by B R Crichton | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®
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World English Bible I form the light, and create darkness. I am Yahweh, who does all these things. Young's Literal Translation Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I am Jehovah, doing all these things. Genesis And seeing that the light was good, God separated the light from the darkness. Long ago I ordained it; in days of old I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, that you should crush fortified cities into piles of rubble. Psalm You bring darkness, and it becomes night, when all the beasts of the forest prowl.

Psalm He sent darkness, and it became dark--for had they not defied His words? Isaiah Yet He too is wise and brings disaster; He does not call back His words. He will rise up against the house of the wicked and against the allies of evildoers. Isaiah I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on unfamiliar paths. I will turn darkness into light before them and rough places into level ground.

These things I will do for them, and I will not forsake them. Isaiah But disaster will come upon you; you will not know how to charm it away. A calamity will befall you that you will be unable to ward off. Devastation will happen to you suddenly and unexpectedly. Lamentations Do not both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High?

This confiscation of property had made matters even worse between the two families, and for a long while Titus and his two sons were very bitter. They entered the Confederate service much against the wishes of Titus's wife, and while serving under the stars and bars one of the sons, Orly, was killed and Titus was taken prisoner.

His own capture and the killing of Orly, coupled with the fact that Sandy, the older son, was nearly starved while in the Southern service, produced a profound impression upon Titus Lyon. While a prisoner he gave up drinking and signed the pledge. Then when Sandy suddenly left the Confederate service to enlist on the Union side under his Uncle Noah, he began to study the situation, and he wrote to Noah [Pg 12] that he had seen the error of his ways and was now for the Union, once and forever.

Later on he was released, and he joined the Riverlawns, to become adjutant of the regiment in which Sandy was now a second lieutenant of the fifth company, second battalion, the battalion being commanded by Major Tom Belthorpe, of Lyndhall and the company by Captain Gadbury, a dashing young soldier, who was far more attentive to Margie Belthorpe than Deck Lyon had ever dared to be to her younger sister. There had been but one thing concerning Duncan Lyon's will which had excited much curiosity when the document was read and when the lawyer having the matter in hand had had his say. This was concerning the fifty-one negroes installed at Riverlawn.

Noah Lyon was requested not to part with any of them. Furthermore, the heir to the plantation was left a sealed letter which was not to be opened until five years later. The Lyons sometimes imagined the contents of the letter concerned the disposition of the slaves, but they had no positive information on the point. Deck Lyon was mounted on his famous horse Ceph, so nicknamed after the even more famous charger ridden in ancient days by Alexander the Great.

The young major had trained Ceph from ponyhood, and rider and beast understood each other perfectly. On more than one occasion Ceph had performed in a truly wonderful fashion on the battlefield, and once, when being promoted, Deck had declared that the honor of the occasion rested with his equine comrade and not himself. As the small body of whites and negroes moved onward in the direction of the Belthorpe plantation, Deck took the lead, with Artie and the faithful Levi close behind him.

In the rear came the armed slaves riding in two ranks of three men each. The men could hardly be termed soldiers, yet during the time that Noah Lyon had been away from Riverlawn the overseer had drilled them thoroughly, both in horsemanship and in [Pg 14] carbine practice, and they were, consequently, a long way removed from raw recruits. Moreover, upon the occasion of the attack upon Riverlawn, they had been under fire and had not flinched, so it was known that they could be depended upon even in a hazardous emergency.

Even without such a fine bit of horseflesh under him, Deck would have been anxious to go to the front. The note received by Levi filled him with alarm, and in his mind all sorts of troublesome thoughts ran riot. The Belthorpe sisters were at home alone, two of Morgan's guerillas were in possession of Lyndhall, and a whole company were soon expected. What indignities might not the sisters suffer, not to say anything of the confiscation and ruin of Mr. Belthorpe's property?

Levi, what did the negro who delivered the note have to say? I didn't know there was a deaf and dumb negro around Lyndhall," mused Deck. The day was frosty but clear, an ideal one for a [Pg 16] ride, and mile after mile was passed, between the now almost barren fields, and through long groves of leafless trees.

The horses from Riverlawn had always been boasted of as being the best in that section of the country, and now they were proving their worth. The mansion home of the Belthorpes stood near the road, with the plantation extending to both sides and to the rear. At a distance up the highway upon which Major Deck and the others were travelling was a grove of walnut trees, and as soon as this grove was reached the young commander of the forces called a halt. I'll go on a scout, and if the coast is clear I'll come back and tell you. If I get into trouble a couple of pistol shots will notify you.

To carry out his object, the major dismounted and turned Ceph over to one of the servants. Deck did not slacken his pace until the magnolias were reached. Here, from an opening, he looked toward the house. Not a soul was in sight, and pistol in hand, he crept along the line of trees until he was within fifty feet of a side veranda. At this moment the door to the veranda opened and a girl stepped out, clad in a house dress, with a cape thrown around her shoulders and a worsted shawl caught over her head in bonnet fashion. Deck did not have to look twice to convince himself that the girl was Kate Belthorpe.

The girl, hearing his voice, stopped short and stared around her in amazement. Then, as he waved his hand to her, she ran down the steps of the veranda, and reaching him, almost embraced him. Why I—I didn't know you were [Pg 18] coming here! Where are the ruffians? Have the whole company arrived yet? The girl started and stared at him. I know nothing of any ruffians. The major was nearly dumfounded by this announcement. Levi Bedford received it less than three hours ago.

The Rage Within by B R Crichton | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

It took but a moment for Kate Belthorpe to master the contents of the note. Come in, she is in the sitting room, writing a letter to brother Tom. With his mind in a whirl the young major followed Kate into Lyndhall mansion. Margie was found as described, and was equally astonished [Pg 19] to see him. The situation was explained, and she glanced at the note.

My father's place may even now be suffering an attack. I must get home without an instant's delay! Four or five other slaves were to follow, so it is safe to say that out of about fifteen men who can use firearms two-thirds are now away from Riverlawn and awaiting me in the walnut grove just below here. But now was no time for sentiment, however delightful it might prove, and the young major burst into the grove all out of breath with running.

The note was a decoy, to get Levi and the others to leave our house. Pray Heaven we may reach there before mother and the others are subjected to insult, or before any damage is done! He could scarcely believe his ears. Boys," he turned to the slaves, "did any of you see that fellow who brought Mrs.

Lyon the note this morning? Clinker shook his head. Woolly, however, smiled shrewdly. But I dunno wot he said, fo' I was a right smart step off. He turned to Deck. I have been badly fooled, and don't deserve to hold the position with which your father entrusted me—that of taking care of his family and his property. The best we can do is to get over the ground just as lively as we can, and if you know of any short cuts to take, so much the better. They were already going ahead at full speed, Deck and Levi in the lead and Artie and the negroes following as rapidly as possible.

You've got a long head—just as you always had! Shortly after this the others left the road and took to a well-defined trail running through a woods and then across the meadow previously described. At the end of the meadow the party came out upon the road running almost parallel with the creek, but at a considerable distance above the spot where the bridge to Colonel Lyon's domain was located. That will give us three points of observation.

General Thomas couldn't have planned it better," answered Deck. Levi, is there a raft handy? We used it day before yesterday, when Faraway and I went over and came back by the bridge. What of Fort Bedford? The so-styled fort was built along the creek, almost opposite the point where the logs and the raft rested.

And so it was arranged that the young captain should wait on the movements of the overseer, and this decided, the three set off on their various missions.

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At the time of which I write the name of Morgan's Cavalry was already known throughout the length and breadth of Kentucky, and those of the inhabitants who were on the side of the Union heard of his coming to one neighborhood or another with dread. When the boys in blue were refitting at Nashville, late in the year , Morgan, having made several raids in Kentucky, though hardly, as yet, any of consequence, determined to visit the State once more, taking with him the pick of the Confederate cavalry of this section of our country.

His first engagement was with a few companies of Michigan troops, on the 24th of December, where he suffered a loss of seventeen men. On Christmas Day came an engagement near Munfordsville, and then the notorious leader attacked the stockade at Bacon Creek. A vigorous resistance [Pg 27] was made, but the explosion of a number of shells within the enclosure made a surrender necessary, and this was followed by the burning of the bridge across Bacon Creek, after which Morgan advanced to Nolan, where another bridge was destroyed. The march of the cavalry was now turned toward Elizabethtown, and here a fierce fight occurred between the Confederates and a body of six hundred infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, which lasted six hours.

The infantry could do but little against the superior numbers of the cavalry, although fighting valorously, and in the end Morgan gained his point and began a march along the railroad, destroying everything in sight as he advanced. It had been hoped by Bragg that Morgan's raid would help the cause of the South a great deal; but the sudden movement of Rosecrans from Nashville to Murfreesboro dimmed the glory considerably. On the 29th of December Morgan was attacked at Rolling Fork on Salt River and driven to Bardstown, from which point he began to make his slow but certain retreat from the State.

Captain Ripley, Deck's friend of the sharpshooters, had called Morgan's cavalry cut-throats. This was an appellation common in those days, but it is hardly justifiable. But there is no doubt that a portion of the raiders were men of low moral character, and these fellows, when foraging, thought it no more than right to confiscate everything in sight. In the neighborhoods strong in Union sentiment whole plantations were laid waste, and the women and children made to suffer untold indignities.

It has been said that Morgan himself had left the State. This was true, but numerous detachments of the cavalrymen remained, some under captains and lieutenants who held no commissions in the Confederate army, and these were mixed up with guerillas,—lawless bodies,—who, while pretending to fight for the Southern cause, thought only of murder and plunder.

For these latter bodies Morgan was not responsible, yet they were spoken of everywhere as Morgan's Raiders. From the very start of hostilities there had been a strong sentiment in Barcreek and vicinity against the dwellers at Riverlawn. Here the [Pg 29] first Union cavalry companies had been formed, and from this house a father and two sons Artie was always called the colonel's son had gone forth. More than this, Colonel Lyon had declared that all he possessed should go to uphold the Union cause were it needed. Those of Confederate tendencies had muttered against this, and ever since the first attack on Riverlawn had been repulsed, numerous "fire-eaters" had longed for a chance to "get square.

Deck thought of all these things as he moved from the shelter of the clearing along the creek in the direction of the bridge. From one source and another he had learned of a score of men of the vicinity joining Morgan's Raiders, and he felt certain now that these fellows would be found among those bent on the looting of his father's estate. The young major could not get his mind away from a certain rowdy of Barcreek who rejoiced in the name of Gaffy Denny. At a Union meeting held at the schoolhouse when the war began, Deck had refused this man admittance to the building, even when the ruffian drew a bowie-knife, and had caused the fellow to decamp by [Pg 30] showing his pistol.

Since this time he had heard twice from Denny—first that he had joined the guerillas operating throughout the county, and again that he was trying to pay his addresses to Dorcas, who, it may readily be imagined, would have nothing to do with him. Denny was a man of thirty-five, a "hoss" trader when he worked, which was but seldom, and as sly and nervy as he was unprincipled.

There was a low fringe of brush overhanging the water, and he skulked behind this, passing the few breaks encountered by crawling on his chest through the grass. His progress was necessarily slow, and it took five minutes to reach the bridge, although the distance from the clearing was not more than an eighth of a mile. From behind the brush he had more than once looked over in the direction of the mansion. Not a soul had appeared in sight, and had he not known otherwise, he would have said that the homestead was deserted.

When within half a rod of the bridge the [Pg 31] major halted, for a slight movement behind the tree overshadowing the bridge seat—that seat where his father and Uncle Titus had once so bitterly quarrelled—had attracted his attention. The new object to come into view was the elbow of a man, and the shining barrel of a gun followed. The major, having led the way into many a hot fight, was not the one to hang back in such an emergency as this. Even while wondering if the man on the bridge was alone, he hurried forward, keeping the tree between himself and the individual.

The bridge was gained and the tree was but three yards off when a partly loose plank tipped up, making enough noise to attract the attention of the man, who leaped forward, pointing his gun as he came. The fellow, taken completely by surprise, hesitated, as if inclined to argue the point. In a second more he had the gun in his possession, and then he compelled the man to throw up both hands. What do they call you? Tell me truthfully, is Gaffy Denny with your company? Answer me truthfully, or, my word for it, I and my friends will hang you to one of yonder trees.

Now answer my question," and again Deck's weapon came up on a level with the guerilla's head. While talking the pair had moved across the road, and now Deck turned his prisoner in the direction of the clearing. Soon they came in sight of General, Clinker, and one other of the slaves. Deck's next movement was in the direction of the raft, for nothing was to be seen of Artie, and he was anxious to know how the young captain was faring. He had hardly reached the pile of logs to which the raft was moored, when a sharp cry rang out on the frosty air.

General, Woolly, Clinker! In such an emergency Major Deck did not hesitate as to a proper course of action. Had the men been regular Confederates he would have been justified in shooting at them; being guerillas he felt himself even more justified. He took careful aim and fired, and the rascal who had just [Pg 36] wrenched the sabre from Artie's grasp fell, shot through the thigh, an ugly wound though not a fatal one.

Surprised at the counter-demonstration thus made, the second guerilla turned to see from what direction the shot had come. Giving him no chance in which to take in the situation, Deck fired a second time, the bullet whistling past the man in gray's shoulder. With a yell the fellow started to retreat from the logs, slipped on the wet and frost-covered surface beneath him, and rolled over and over until he went with a loud splash into the creek, not to reappear upon the surface of the icy current until fifty feet away.

To this the guerilla did not reply. But he kept on swimming, and seeing this both Deck and Artie fired. A yell of pain was the answer to the shots, and the man turned around. The wounded man on the logs was writhing in pain, but nothing could be done for him just now, and Deck and Artie watched the man in the water. For the instant Deck stared blankly and Artie looked at him. Wait," and he continued to watch. In half a minute the body of the guerilla appeared, a hundred feet below the logs. In less than five minutes after this the guerilla was on the raft once more. Deck was on the point of marching him up into the grove by the creek road when Levi Bedford came up in the canoe, demanding to know what the several shots meant.

He was highly pleased to think that three men had already been put out of the contest. We ought not to give these guerillas the least chance to escape. The General was called from his hiding-place and matters were explained. While he went off with the horses, Levi Bedford led the way to the raft and unmoored her, fastening the painter to the stern of the canoe, which, though so called, [Pg 39] was, as old readers already know, really a round-bottom rowboat. The overseer, Deck, and Artie entered the canoe, the first two at the oars, while the slaves deposited themselves on the raft, doing what they could to aid their progress over the stream by means of several sweeps which had been picked up.

It may be asked why a rush was not made upon the mansion and barns, instead of the stealthy advance now under way. The answer to this is, Deck and the others knew that the force to be encountered was larger than their own, and probably just as well, if not better, armed.

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  6. Moreover, the young major felt that some of the guerillas must be on the lookout from the mansion, and an advance across the lawn in front and to one side, or the meadow to the rear and the other side, could only have been accomplished after a serious loss of life. The guerillas of Kentucky were for the most part "dead-shots," and the youthful commander was not inclined to risk his men in the open against their superior numbers.

    The creek at the point where the raft had been moored was between sixty and seventy feet wide, consequently the journey to the other side did [Pg 41] not occupy over five minutes, even though the raft was an unwieldy thing to handle. As soon as they were near enough to do so, all hands leaped into the meadow grass, and started on a rush for Fort Bedford. The three shots in rapid succession came from the rear of the largest barn, and Deck felt something rush through his cap and his hair beneath.

    A groan came from Clinker, who was struck in the side. The negro staggered but kept on, his eyes rolling and staring from a pain that was new to him. Nobody was, and without halting to return the fire they pressed on. Soon they were under the shelter of the ice-house, as dark and silent as the rest of the plantation had previously appeared. The heavy slabs of wood had been smashed in with a stout log used as a battering-ram, and a hasty search revealed the fact that the arms and ammunition, the overseer had mentioned, had been carried away.

    As the party passed into the building several more shots were fired at them, but the bullets merely found resting-places in the woodwork or flattened themselves on the stone walls. Levi Bedford now saw one of the shooters near the edge of the barn and fired his rifle, but whether or not the shot took effect he could not ascertain. Deck silently counted their forces again. As General was absent, they numbered but eight including himself. He shook his head seriously.

    But I can't ask it of you and the slaves," and he turned to the overseer. A handkerchief was soon tied to a stick, and, leaving Artie in command of the armed slaves, the young major and the overseer sallied forth, waving the flag of truce over their heads. They started toward the mansion, but before half the distance was covered a loud and rough voice from the barn called upon them to halt, and they halted. As there seemed no help for it, Deck and Levi turned toward the barn. While still a hundred feet from the building they were ordered to halt again, and then a man in gray, wearing a tangled beard of black, with matted hair to match, came forth to greet them.

    Wolfall grinned, thereby showing a set of uneven yellow teeth, much the worse for constant tobacco chewing. Say, you feel big in them sodger clothes, don't ye? Times is changed, an' if the Lyonses is gwine to take a stand ag'in the best interests o' this State, why they hev got to take the consequences, thet's all. What have you done with my mother and my two sisters? Them's nice clothes, sonny, but a gray suit would look a heap sight better.

    If yer come only to abuse such gents as we air, better be gittin' [Pg 46] back, sonny," and now the Kentucky guerilla tapped his horse pistol significantly. Moreover, my men and I will shoot you down like dogs if we get the chance," and Deck turned back, followed by Levi. When the major and the overseer returned to Fort Bedford, Artie wished to know immediately what had been accomplished. He was almost "stumped," although he did not care to admit it. A shout was now heard along the creek, and looking from the fort those within saw five colored men standing at the clearing.

    They were the slaves that had followed the first detachment to Lyndhall. With the colored men were three whites, farmers living in the vicinity who had called at Lyndhall on business and who had been persuaded by Margie and Kate to join in the defence of Riverlawn.

    Hang me, if I'm not in for making a rush! I don't believe there were any more. I'll bring them around to the meadow by the road, and along the berry bushes at the other side of the lawn. There will be nine of us, and as soon as we are in a position to attack [Pg 48] the barn, I'll fire two shots in quick succession. Then you must make a demonstration against the house.

    But be careful that it doesn't cost you any lives. Both Levi and Artie were quick-witted enough to see the advantage of Deck's plan and readily agreed to it. Without the loss of a moment the major left the fort, crawling on his hands and knees through the grass to the creek. Here the canoe and the raft were found as they had been left. Detaching the boat from the logs, he leaped in, and crouching low, sculled for the opposite shore with all speed. He was taking a big risk and knew it, and expected every instant to receive a shot from the enemy. But none came, thanks to Levi, who, calculating the time he would be thus exposed, ran to the opening of the fort and called on several to do the same.

    As no good chance for an aim was given, the guerillas did not open with their guns, but they kept their eyes on the fort, and the creek was for the time being neglected. On reaching the edge of the clearing, Deck did not lose a moment, but hurried the slaves [Pg 49] and the white men back to the road and to the bushes lining the upper side.

    As they marched along on the double quick he explained the situation to Ralph Bowman, Sandran Dowleigh, and Carson Lee, the three farmers, all natives of the county, and all Union men to the core. It took the best part of a quarter of an hour to reach the meadow Deck had mentioned. Here there was a slight rise of ground, beyond which stood the barn. From their position only the top of the structure could be seen. Crawling Indian fashion to the top of the rise, the major inspected the situation again. As before, not a soul was in sight.

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    4. Before moving forward he had stationed one [Pg 50] of the slaves some distance closer to the mansion. The man was armed with a double-barrelled gun, and as Deck waved his handkerchief two reports rang out, the signal agreed upon. Hardly had the echo of the gun died away than Levi, Artie, and the others emerged from the fort, and began moving around the meadow toward the front of the house. The demonstration did just what was expected. Several men appeared at the mansion windows, to fire in vain at the detachment from the fort, they keeping pretty well out of range.

      From the barn poured the five guerillas counted by Levi, anxious to learn if their services were needed elsewhere. By this time Deck's command was at the top of the rise, and the major called on his men to take careful aim and fire, discharging his pistol at the same moment. Carson Lee picked out Wolfall and the ruffian dropped like a log, shot through the head.

      Two of the others went down, one hit in the arm and the other in the side. The two remaining stopped in perplexity, not knowing whether to return to their original shelter or run for the mansion. Seeing the turn of affairs, the last ruffian, also wounded, sped for the mansion as though a legion of demons were after him. Those who had reloaded gave the fellow half a dozen shots, but he was not hit again, and tumbled pell-mell up the veranda steps and through a doorway opened hastily to afford him entrance.

      For reply Deck pointed his pistol at the ruffian's head. There were twenty-two [Pg 52] of us at the start, including the five we had here. I think three men were posted on the road and along the creek.

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      We number sixteen. Keep your eyes open while I am gone," said the major, and moved off in a roundabout way for Fort Bedford. The first battle, if such it might be called, had been fought and won. Four of the guerillas had been put out of the contest, one forever, and one had escaped to the mansion. The contest had been entirely one-sided, for the ruffians had not had time left to them in which to fire so much as a single charge.

      But though the present victory had been gained quickly and with ease, Deck knew that the work still cut out for himself and his command would prove much more difficult and dangerous. The guerillas in the mansion would be on a close watch, and it would go hard with any one imprudent enough to advance within reasonable shooting distance. By the time the major had gained the fort those intrusted with the work of making a demonstration had returned to the shelter of the stone walls.

      No injury had been done, and Artie and the overseer [Pg 54] had had their hands full in keeping the slaves from rushing directly for the mansion regardless of consequences, especially when it was noted that four men had gone down in the vicinity of the barn. Denny may try to get a bit sweet on Miss Dorcas, but I reckon she can hold her own. Those guerillas—". He rushed to the door of the fort, followed by Levi and Artie.

      It was Dorcas, true enough. The girl had just come out on the mansion porch and was trying to get away from a guerilla who held her. And Deck increased his speed, bounding over the meadow trenches with an agility that would have done credit to a [Pg 56] trained athlete. He had barely gained the lawn when Dorcas broke from Gaffy Denny's grasp and fled down the porch steps toward him.

      At the same time Hope appeared, followed by Mrs.

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      Lyon and several guerillas who had been in the act of transferring the lady prisoners from one room of the mansion to the other. The sight of his mother pursued by these ruffians excited Deck to the highest degree, and without a thought of the danger he continued on his course until within a hundred feet of the porch. Then he fired at Gaffy Denny and saw the guerilla clap his left hand over his right shoulder, showing that he had been struck. Denny had scarcely made the movement when Levi Bedford fired and the temporary leader of the guerillas pitched headlong on the grass, not to rise again.

      The fall of Denny caused the men behind him to pause, and as they stood on the porch Artie opened on them and another fellow was slightly wounded. Then came half a dozen gun and pistol reports, and Deck felt himself hit across the left side of the neck. The bullet left nothing more than an ugly scratch, from which the blood flowed freely.

      But now the prisoners from the mansion had come up to their would-be rescuers, and catching sight of the blood, Hope fainted in Artie's arms. Lyon staggered toward Deck, while Levi caught Dorcas by the hand. At the same time Artie caught up Hope and followed, with Levi and Dorcas by his side. The overseer was the only man of the party who was not handicapped, for the major did not dare let go of his mother for fear she would sink down.

      Levi turned quickly, and as the men on the porch prepared to fire, pulled trigger twice, wounding one additional guerilla. But now came a volley from the mansion windows, and the overseer was struck in the arm. A second volley was about to follow, when a yell arose from the meadow and the slaves under Clinker came on, shooting as well as they could on the run.

      The windows of the mansion, now [Pg 58] wide open, received considerable attention, and two guerillas were noted to fall back with yells of either fright or pain. Deck got one more chance to fire, and then had to turn all of his attention to his mother, who was so out of breath she could no longer move.

      And save Hope and Dorcas! He was soon following Artie to the fort, with Dorcas running by his side, while Levi remained behind to take command of the slaves and cover the retreat. From around the back of the meadow came those left by the major at the barn, thinking a regular attack on the mansion had been made. Noah Lyon was no light load, and when Deck gained the shelter of the fort he was ready to drop with his burden. Finding the most comfortable seat the place afforded, he deposited his precious load upon it and fanned her with his soldier cap. Hope was just reviving and was soon able to take care of herself.

      Then she knelt down in front of her aunt—that aunt who had for years been a mother to her. Hope joined the group, and tears flowed down every feminine cheek. The battle between those in the mansion and those on the edge of the lawn was waxing hot, and he felt that he was needed. A great load was lifted from his mind, now he knew his mother and the girls were safe, and he felt that he could endure almost anything.

      Taking a short cut by leaping over a ditch some ten feet wide, he came up in front of Carson Lee and the others from the barn. Lee had already been firing, at long range, and the man subject to fits declared he had dropped one guerilla stationed at an attic window. We will take the opposite side of the house. Soon the entire party was making another detour, while Levi's men fell back gradually to a safe position in a dry trench near the centre of the meadow—a trench begun in the spring but never connected with the creek.

      When the major's party reached the magnolias, Lee and another of the farmers climbed into the branches, taking care, however, to keep the main trunks of the trees between themselves and the mansion. The others collected underneath, also, on the sheltered sides. But I imagine we'll hear from them before that—now the ladies have escaped. Now, the case is different, and, in my opinion, they will try to make terms before we have a chance to send for aid with which to wipe them out, as the saying goes.

      The best part of half an hour passed, and during that time everybody placed his weapon in proper fighting trim again. Lee took one shot at a face which appeared at a bedroom window and received a shot in return, but neither took effect. Evidently the guerillas were on the alert. But the major remained silent, and the man advanced cautiously to the edge of the veranda. Then the young commander waved his handkerchief in return, and marched up the lawn to interview the ruffian with the flag of truce. The fellow was an ugly looking customer, over six feet tall, thin, and with a face horribly pox-marked.

      He came swaggering up to within five yards of Deck and halted. He had not yet forgotten the manner in which he had been addressed at the barn. He bears a strong claim to all who profess to worship the Northern Gods, for without transformation, a warrior cannot ascend to greatness, the gods cannot grant their blessings, and the living cannot die. He is the Great Sorcerer of Chaos, and Bringer of Change, for make no mistake -- endless, broiling change is the truest nature of Chaos, and Chaos is the source of the eldritch energies that mortals, in their superstition, have named 'magic'.

      On one side of his nature, Tzeentch is also the embodiment of Hope, for the embodiment of Hope in its truest sense is that of Change, a change for the better. Tzeentch is also the God of Knowledge, as shown that when a person has an insatiable need to seek out knowledge and the answers to the mystery's of destiny and that of the world often fall sway to Tzeentch influence. It is Tzeentch alone who holds the true key to this terrible knowledge, and his price is very steep.

      To all those that truly worship Tzeentch, they very well know that each and every one of them are naught but pawns in his game to outflank his Brothers in Darkness and to bring about the downfall of all civilisation. The Raven God rewards his followers with madness, insanity, and power and upon death their spirits are brought to his halls to serve him for all eternity.

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      Yet, the Raven God does not scheme towards the accomplishment of some end, but instead, strives to create a never-ending turmoil for its own sake. After all, Tzeentch thrives upon such anarchic change. Shamans and Sorcerers are perhaps the truest disciples of Tzeentch, for they possess and channel the very essence of Change, which is Magic and its corrupting and mutating influence upon the world and those that live within it. He is the eldest of the four Chaos Gods and is the most directly involved with the plight of mortals, particularly humans who suffer so acutely from a fear of death.

      Indeed, Nurgle is undoubtedly the oldest of the Chaos Gods, for the process of death and decay is as old as Life itself. When the first forms of life had lived upon the universe, they've lived and then would inevitably die, and from this death came the primordial Nurgle. On one side of his nature, Nurgle is unexpectedly also the God of Rebirth.

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      After all, decay is simply one part of the cycle of life, without which no new life could grow. In the same way, Nurgle is also the God of Perseverance and Survival. While those who wish to spread decay and corruption are certainly amongst his followers, there are also those who wish to endure, to become tough enough to handle the difficulties and opportunities presented by an uncaring world. Many of those affected by Nurgle's poxes usually turn to him in order to escape the pain caused by sickness and disease, and while the other Three Gods of Chaos have little care for their followers, it is Nurgle who places an uncommon love, admiration, and faith upon those that would follow his blighted footsteps.

      Out of all the Dark Gods, Nurgle is perhaps the least worshipped amongst the tribes of the North. Nurgle's worship is only done when plagues and disease are prevalent amongst their people, for to do so otherwise would simply bring the same diseases upon their lands. In this dire state, the Northmen tribes would often appease Nurgle by offerings of gifts or sacrifices so that he would spare them from his diseases. Those that embrace these "gifts" are given unbelievable constitution against all disease and against even mortal weapons.

      Only the most powerful weapons or the most lethal of wounds can ever have a chance to bring a Follower of Nurgle down for good, and even to get close to such followers would often bring death to the aggressor himself. Slaanesh is the the Dark God dedicated to the pursuit of earthly gratification and the overthrow of all decent behaviour, as well as hedonism and pleasure for its own sake. Out of all the pantheon, Slaanesh is the youngest of the Chaos Gods, for the complex emotions of Love and Decadence can only exist within the minds of intelligent races.

      On one side of his nature, Slaanesh is the embodiment of Love, Passion and the vibrant Art. Those that dabble with such emotions are usually those of artisans, dancers and flamboyant nobles of the southern realms. However, he is also the embodiment of Hubris, Pride and Pain. Every breath is an opportunity to take in a new scent. Each glass raised is a chance to savour a new flavour. On every battlefield, each sword blow can entice a never before heard pain-filled scream.

      From his glittering palace, the Lord of Excess revels in each new sensation discovered. He guides and directs the inhabitants of the world to push ever onwards towards new heights of sensation with no forms of moral boundary. Unlike the influence of the other Chaos Gods, Slaanesh influence is more prevalent amongst the civilised nations of the Old World. The warlike tribes of the north have very little time to indulge themselves in their desires, for every waking moment is a simple fight for survival. As a result, perhaps the most numerous disciples of Slaanesh hail from the decadent peoples of the south.

      It is only from here that a person can indulge themselves in the pleasures of life, such as beautiful artwork, culinary delights, extravagant clothing, and the pleasures of the flesh. And none have the time and wealth to indulge themselves in such delights than the wealthy nobility. In the cold wastes of the far north, the followers of the Dark Gods gather. Hordes of barbaric Marauders and armour-clad Warriors pour forth from their bleak wastelands to wage war against their soft-bellied brethren who inhabit the lands to the south.

      At their head march unholy Champions of Chaos, and monstrous aberrations advance with them, proof that they are truly the favoured of the Gods. The northern barbarians are universally bloodthirsty, barbaric and fierce. War is their natural state and they wage it without prejudice, rejoicing in battle and strength at arms.

      When Chaos is ascendant, the men of the north are more willing to put aside their rivalries and disputes. As word spreads of a coming conflict, the tribes gather together in great marauding hordes under the command of a fell Champion of Chaos, whom they will follow to the ends of the earth in the name of conquest. To the Northmen, there is no greater honour than to fight and perish under the gaze of the gods. Without a second thought, they willingly walk a road that will either lead them to ultimate power or eternal damnation. Chaos Armies as a whole are highly diverse yet extremely feared and horrifically powerful.

      A large diversity of tribes usually forms the bulk of many large Chaos armies, from the beserker-warriors of the Aesling's to the fleeting horse-archers of the Khazags. As a result, nearly every Northmen within the army is far more then a match for even the elite of the southern realms. Warfare and Conquest is considered the lifeblood of the Northern lands. At its very core, the Armies of Chaos is simply a never-ending battle that happens to follow the same direction. A Chaos army usually consist of many different warbands, all hailing from a wide diversity of tribes and affiliations.

      The warriors that comprise these barbaric warbands are unruly and violent, fighting amongst other rival warbands almost as much as they fight against the weaklings of the south. Only the willpower and brutality of a particularly powerful Chaos Lord can ever hope to quell such barbaric infighting, and even then, from every level of the army's hierarchy, each and every Warrior will constantly strive to defeat one-another in frequent bouts of violence and duels all for the sake of proving one's worth in the eyes of the Dark Gods.

      There is not a day that goes by within a Chaos Army without the spilling of bloodshed. As befitting their barbaric existence, the bulk of most Chaos armies consist of primitive warbands of savages wearing nothing but fur-skin cloaks and crude war-axes. These lowly warriors are usually known collectively as Marauders , [1p] for such is their profession when journeying to the lands of the south. Although considered the weakest warriors, these Men are nonetheless exceptional if not unruly fighters.

      Above these primitives are the heavily-armoured and disciplined ranks of the Chaos Warriors , [1q] known famously for wearing legendary suits of daemonic Chaos Plate Armour. Eternally encased within thick plate armour, these hulking warriors are considered the True Warriors of Chaos. Above these warriors would then be the Champions that lead them. Champions are brutal warriors that have gained a greater measure of favour from the Gods then the rest of his brethren because of his own personal deeds to their service.

      These Champions would in turn follow the banner of an even powerful Champions, known as Exalted Heroes , [1s] warriors whose deeds within the Northlands have since become legendary.