Chapter 8

Chapter 8

A Chapter by Calvin

Before the sun had risen Diego arose from his sleep, he quickly ordered his men to awaken from their pleasant slumber. The conquistadors quietly moaned and complained about being awaken at such an hour, the only one allowed to sleep in was Seargent Montana to recover from his injuries. Gathering their swords and lethargically doning their armour the men were ready to move out, Captain Santonio would stop at nothing to prove his theory. A feeling of confidence and self asurredness blasted through his veins as he mounted Sebastian, Diego polished his medals and shined his boots as if he were preparing for the King Ferdinand to arrive. Reluctantly, the conquistadors followed him as he rode off into the forest.                               The men were very careful and cautious of marching through the forest at night after the spotless leopard violently attacked Captain Santonio, Luitenant Vasquez drew his sword in case any other savage creature should appear out of the darkness of the woods. Diego was more concerned about the wound on his majestic stallion, Sebastian had been slightly limping ever since the native attack. Knowing of his arabian thoroughbred's pain, the captain dismounted and continued on foot. None of the men could understand Captain Santonio's thoughts at the time, they were completely unaware of what he had in mind as they marched relentlessly into the darkness. Luitenant Iglesias approached the captain in hopes of finding out what was going on.                 " With all due respect sir, what in Heaven's name are we doing? "                            " You shall find out when we arrive Luitenant. " replied Captain Santonio wearing a grin on his face.               Luitenant Iglesias immediately recognized the grin the captain was doning and knew there was some sort of suprise he had in store. It took hours of marching through the pine trees and briars before the spaniards reached their destination, the grin on Diego's face had turned to a look of determination. His hands were tightly gripping the reigns of Sebastian while his eyes pierced through the darkness as he hacked away with his sword at the bushes and branches that blocked his path, Captain Santonio was a man on a mission. After his many heroics on the journey Diego was viewed by his men as a Christopher Columbus, the conquistadors reveranced him as much as they would King Ferdinand. A heavy rain beat opon the conquistador's helmets, not even the sudden storm could detour Captain Santonio.                      Peering through the trees and the rain the men could see a clearing just ahead, after rushing towards it they discovered a pile of rocks with a wooden cross carved out of pine bearing the name Sir Henry Lindisfarne. The men were stunned after seeing a European grave site in the new world, all of them exept Luitenant Iglesias who was with Captain Santonio when Cheif War Cloud showed him the grave of the fallen knight. Captain Santonio pulled two shovels from beneath the saddle on his horse, his officers were puzzled as to what he intended to do. Diego smiled and handed the shovels to two soldiers and ordered them to start digging, they were shocked and glared at him as if he had ordered them to kill their own mothers. Luitenant Iglesias rushed over to his commanding officer to ask why he would order the soldiers to disturb the crusader's grave.                     " Sir, you cannot disturb a grave! Why would we even entertain such an atrocious thought ? "               " This is no grave luitenant, this is the final resting place of the ark. "      " Pardon me sir? "                   " According to Cheif War Cloud the ark was an object the natives loved and feared, it's just possible the ark could have been buried here by the natives after stealing it from the crusaders. "        After explaining to Luitenant Iglesias several times Captain Santonio then ordered the two conquistadors to start digging, it was exhausting work clearing away the heavy stones which marked the grave. The driving rain loudly pounding on the conquistador's helmets did not make the work any easier, the thick mud in their shovels might as well have been the weight of anvils. Hour by hour, inch by inch the the soldiers dug their way into the earth. After digging only two feet into the ground the the men could not go any further, the captain assigned a second crew of excavaters to finish the job. All of the Spaniards awaited the moment of truth with breathless anticipation, every minute seemed as if an hour in their eyes.                     Thunder cracked and lightning struck as the exhausting work continued, only two more feet down and Captain Santo.nio was forced to insert another crew to excavate the mysterious grave. Luitenant Iglesias and Luitenant Vasquez pleaded with Captain Santonio to abandon the hopeless work but he would refuse to admit defeat. Suddenly, the loud klink of a shovel striking a hard surface pierced loudly through the ears of the nervous conquistadors. The sound they had been patiently awaiting for hours in the drenching rain finally revealed itself to them, all of the spaniards were filled with excitement and anxiousness to see what the wooden box beneath the ground concealed. The exhaustion and fatigue which plagued the two workers quickly vanished as excitement flooded through their bodies, the two spaniards dug like gophers to excavate the box which in their minds concealed gold.                                        The rain could not slow the progress of the work, the conquistador's greed carried them through the tiring challenges of their duty. Inch by inch the box projected out of the ground as the workers dug their way deeper into the rain soaked earth, the soldier's heartbeats were louder than the rain beating on the metal helmets of the conquistadors. It was only moments away from Captain Santonio claiming the ark for Spain, the seconds ticked by in the fierce rainstorm while he waited for his finest hour to arrive. Finally, one of the diggers pulled half of the box out of the mud. " Just a few more shovels full and she'll be ready sir. " said one of the workers.                   Excitement filled the air soon after the announcement of the soldier, all of the men let out a loud " Hooray!!! " and then threw ropes down the hole to hoist up the mysterious treasure box. The workers in the bottom of the pit quickly attached the ropes to the oval shaped box and gave the okay to start pulling, as the spaniards pulled they gasped after feeling the heaviness of the oval crate. The men suspected that much gold must be concealed inside the coffin disguised treasure chest due to it's extraordinary weight. Slowly but surely the box worked it's way to the surface for everyone to see, it was made solid oak and had a lock made of pure gold. Carved on the lid of the oval box was some sort of European family crest, Captain Santonio did not care about what was on the outside of the box.                                      " Men, this is a very important moment in the history of Spain. We shall become heroes imbeded in history forever as we open this box. "                      Diego drew his sword and with a strong blow downward the lock was broken, his heart beat violently while his throat sank into his stomach as he was expecting to find the ark of the covenant inside. With his trembling hand the captain opened the lid to discover something he was not expecting to find, a skeleton in a shining suit of armour stared him directly in the face. The fallen knight covered in cobwebs was laid to rest in the coffin exactly as Cheif War Cloud had said, Diego's assumptions had proved his downfall. Now the captain was forced to do something which made his stomach turn, admit that he was wrong.                                   " No, the ark must be here! It must be! "                         " I'm afraid it's not sir, we've dug as far as we can dig. " replied Luitenant Iglesias                                  " God forgive us for disturbing this man's grave! "              " Perhaps we could search the cave which War Cloud showed to us. "      " Perhaps, if we do not find the ark their we will threaten War Cloud with our cannon if he does not tell us the ark's whereabouts. "  The dissappointed soldiers wearily marched on as Captain Santonio ponted the way to the native cave just a mile away, the spirits of the men had never been so low on the entire journey. Every man drug their feet and hung their head low walking through the soaking rain and the painful stabs of thornbushes, Diego had never been so humiliated and exhausted in his entire life. The captain's fighting spirit and his intense determination carried him through, nothing could stop him finding the ark for his king. As the soldiers slowly approached the cave with their morale sinking fast, the favor that the captain's men showed him during the journey was slowly slipping away. At least the cave would provide shelter from the rain, that might boost the men's spirits.                                As the exhausted conquistadors entered the cave their attention was drawn immediately to the native artwork on the walls, they stared in awe for a few moments at the primitive masterpieces painted in the cavern. After Captain Santonio lit a torch the paintings seemed to floresently glow lighting up the cave on their own, Diego then ordered his men to stay put while he and Luitenant Iglesias venture further into the cavern in search of the ark. The deeper the captain and Hernando wandered into the cave the paintings on the walls began to feature the ark, the first primitive artwork showed men in suits of armour bringing the ark to the native camp and many other valuable objects such as bronze chariots filled with gold and jewels, stacks of golden tiles, golden lampstands, and an alter. Every painting seemed to describe what happened during the crusader's visit, the next painting depicted the natives and the crusaders having a battle over the lustful objects. The next painting depicted the knights retreating westward with all of the gold and the ark with them.      " Well I would assume the crusaders must have taken all of the gold with them. " said Luitenant Iglesias                                       " I'm afraid we must follow the crusader's trail the rest of the way and press on, still I am stunned by the resemblence of the knight in the cave painting and Seargent Montana. The same sharp features, same well-trimmed shadowy beard and the same small build. Sometimes I wonder if the seargent has any english relatives. "           The captain and Luitenant Iglesias walked back to the entrance of the cave with their heads sinking low as well as their spirits, even the rough conquistadors could feel the sadness and dissappointment hovering in the air. Captain Santonio knew he must do something to lift the men's weary spirits, he then broke into a fiery speech in which the spaniards were easily motivated. The captain always knew that the weakness of all conquistadors was the lust for gold and riches, it seemed the more he elaborated on the wealth that the men were to aquire from finding the ark and the gold the more there will to continue the journey strengthened. The sun had risen and the rain had ceased, now the spaniards would take the long walk back to their camp and pack the supplies for the remainder of the rigerous journey. Luitenant Vasquez approached Diego as the men hiked through the woods      " Captain, what if we fail to find the crusader's gold? "  The captain could not help but silently chuckle at the young officer's lack of understanding as he began to reply. " Let's say that we return to Spain without the ark or the crusader's gold, but we will bring back maps, new species of animals, and most important of all we shall bring with us evidence that an entire continent exists in the new world just begging to be explored. If there is gold discovered on this continient then perhaps we would be knighted by the spanish crown and carry with us the honor of being the first white men to have explored it, with the exeption of the the crusaders of course. " Luitenant Vasquez backed off because in his mind he knew that he could not argue with what the captain had said, Francisco Vasquez was more worried about his own personal safety than being knighted by the spanish crown. Once the conquistadors arrived at their camp the packed their supplies and prepared to move out, Seargent Montana was slow to get up but ready to travel. A soldier approached the seargent and said " Seargent, you bear an uncanny resemblance to the knight we saw painted on the walls of the cave! "  Seargent Montana's face turned pale and he went into a state of shock for a few moments before he answered " Utter nonsense! I should have you flogged soldier, but only complete ignorance could compel you to make such a ridiculous remark! "  Captain Santonio immediately ran to the tent of Leaping Fawn, she was still asleep and was lying gracefully beneath her hand-woven blanket. Diego carefully placed his hand opon her forehead and gently stroked her soft raven hair, slowly her large brown eyes opened and she awakened from her deep sleep. " Diego, where am I ? " she asked him with her soft voice         " You had an accident two days ago, we are packing our supplies to continue searching for the ark. " Leaping Fawn seemed puzzled for a few moments as she arose from her bed, the beautiful maiden fell into a state of shock when the memories of the horrific attack by War Cloud's tribe hauntingly returned. Leaping Fawn embraced Diego and cried heavily opon his shoulder, she had been terribly freightened by the native attack a few days earlier. " Oh Diego! I was so freightened, they were everywhere!!! " she sobbed. Captain Santonio spent the next ten minutes embracing her and calming her fragile nerves. In half an hour everything was packed and ready for the long, grueling journey ahead. Due to Leaping Fawn's condition the captain placed her on Sebastian and walked beside them, the spaniards were finally moving on with their quest for the ark. Captain Santonio could only hope the terrain would change further along, the briars and thick brush were taking a toll on him. Diego grew increasingly concerned with Luitenant Vasquez , he had lost his position as executive officer and his eyes screamed revenge.            Seargent Montana had gained much respect for the captain, he was not fond of diego's willingness to put his men's life in danger life in danger but had much appreciation for valor. At first Seargent Montana thought of Captain Santonio as just another greedy, ambititous, and selfish officer, but after Diego laid his life on the line to save his men he gained much respect from the veteran soldier. The conquistadors were tired and exhausted but in high spirits, being in a good mood they sang songs as they traversed through the wilderness. With his men in good cheer Captain Santonio felt confidence once again, he could only imagine what other obstacles lie ahead in this unforgiving land. All the captain could think of at the moment was returning to Madrid and bringing with him the ark.                                             

© 2010 Calvin

Author's Note

please excuse misspellings, grammar problems, etc.

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Added on November 13, 2010
Last Updated on November 25, 2010



Duncan, OK

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