Chapter 36: No Rules in This Game

Start from the beginning

"Stations!" Dollard yelled.

The thirty-four remaining allies raced to the loopholes. They fired as quickly as possible at the advancing Iroquois.'The wave of lead cut the front line down, then the second line, and then Agariata called the retreat. Howling and screeching, the Mohawks and Onondagas ran back to the safety of their palisade.

Inside, Agariata spoke:

"'We will not leave here without killing the French."

He took his hatchet and buried it in one of the rough palisade's poles. The Iroquois braves knocked each other over in an attempt to pull it out and thus have the honor of leading the next attack.

"Prepare yourselves. Protect yourselves. Get the shields," Agariata ordered.

Many braves wore a kind of forest armor. Mantlets of three pieces of wood were lashed side to side which covered them from the head to the middle of the thigh. This shield would not be effective against steel-tipped arrows although it would stop stone-tipped ones. As protection against bullets it was of no value, but the psychological effect could help the braves, Agariata knew, and it might frighten and confuse the French shooters.

As the Mohawks dressed in their protective equipment, Agariata looked toward the barricade. He saw nothing.

"They cannot last now," said Annenraes, who had just come from the squatting defectors. "The Hurons say there were sixty-one men: seventeen French, four Algonquins, and forty Hurons."

"How many are left?" asked Agariata.

"Thirty-four or thirty-five. Twenty-tour defected to us; we had the three emissaries here, and there are at least a half-dozen Hurons dead out there."

"You are right. They cannot last. The Hurons have no stomach for us."

"You will be surprised at the people there," said Annenraes. "The defectors say Annahotaha captains the Hurons and Mituvemeg is the Algonquin leader."

"Annahotaha and Mituvemeg? Together? said Agariata. "I will enjoy seeing them die.

Annahotaha in particular. He has lived too long. He has killed many of our brothers. I want to torture him myself."

"You will have to be swift, Agariata," said Annenraes. "I want him too."

Agariata looked at his men; they were nearly ready.

In the barricade after the rush, there was little time to sort things out. Thirteen Hurons remained, including Annahotaha. The Algonquins had not even considered defecting; they were of a different life-root than the Iroquois, and they could neither expect nor did they wish for the adoption promised the Hurons. The seventeen Frenchmen and their Indian allies totaled thirty-four. The odds were now over twelve to one.

Dollard's quick calculation put two men at each of eleven loopholes and a man between each loophole. That was thirty-two men.

"Pay attention. Here is what we will do," said Dollard.

He scuffed some stones out of the way with his foot, picked up a broken arrow and drew a large semi-circle on the ground to represent the barricade.

"'We will man eleven loopholes with two men each. The force will be strongest in the center because the loopholes are closer together there. Between each loophole and two steps behind we will place another man so that he can move either left or right to fire while the man he replaces steps back to reload.

"Annahotaha, you and the Hurons take the river side from loophole number one to four. Mituvemeg and the Algonquin band take the forest side loopholes ten and eleven. The French will take the center loopholes five through nine with a man back of loopholes nine and ten and another behind ten and eleven with Mituvemeg's men.