The Beginning of the Marshal’s Legend of the Landrun.

By: Judge Rodriguez

Historical Authors

Hello everyone! First of all, thank you for joining me this month as I continue some of the stories leading up to the beginning of the Legends of the Landrun series. This month, I set it up for John Cardwell. Hope you enjoy the read!

Col. Johnston, an aging, portly horse soldier lights a cigar, then leans back in his chair. At the sound of a knock on his office door, he says, “Yes?”

Sergeant Smith enters, then salutes the colonel. “Sir, I have a request from Sgt. Maj. Cardwell to report to you at your earliest convenience.”

The colonel blows a large cloud of smoke. “By all means, send John in.”

The aforementioned Command Sergeant Major steps around the corner of the door, stops in front of the desk and salutes smartly, then stands at attention. “Sir, if I may, I need to have a word with you, privately?”

Col. Johnston glances toward his secretary and nods.

The young man snaps a salute, turns, then leaves the office, closing the door firmly behind him.

The colonel sits up in his chair and offers the sergeant major a cigar from the box on his desk.

The sergeant major shakes his head curtly. “No, thank you, sir.”

Col. Johnston frowns. “What’s wrong with you, John? You’re acting strange.”

“Sir, I wish to place my official request to retire from my enlistment.”

The colonel’s eyes go wide. “You want to retire?”

“I have given the cavalry twenty years, in which time I have served faithfully. With the announcement they are opening the unassigned lands for settlement, I’ve decided that I wish to try my hand at something else other chasing bandits and pacifying tribesmen.”

The colonel looks down at a piece of paper sitting on his desk, then holds it up to show to the sergeant. “Your timing wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with this, would it?”

John glances at the page. In as rough a scratch as is possible, yet still legible, it says simply: I quit. Red-Feather. The audacity that his friend would show with this simple act of defiance makes him chuckle.

“Well? Does it?”

John nods. “Yes, sir. It does appear so. I take it you’ve released him from service, then?”

“I was just considering what to do about the request.” His look goes pensive. “You know I could have you in a court’s martial over this collusion, right?”

John shakes his head. “You don’t want to do that. You know it. The both of us have served this post for twenty years. I’ve served the cavalry for twenty three. Why not allow us to bow out gracefully and give some younger blood the chance to fill in for our duties?”

The colonel sighs. “You have been here since Sherman started this post, haven’t you?”

John smiles. “Before. I was part of the Fourth since just after the end of the ‘war.”

“You don’t take out much from your pay, do you, sergeant?”

John shakes his head. “No need. You know that when I retire, I do plan to draw my back-pay, right? I am going to need a few incidentals, after all.”

The colonel takes a long pull off his cigar and gives the sergeant major a steady look. “How much are we looking at for back-pay?”

“I’ll have to check the books.” The colonel snorts derisively. “All right. I already did, I am owed one thousand five hundred sixty three dollars and eighty one cents.”

“Talk to the quartermaster. Draw out of stores what you need to make the trip and take it out of your back-pay. That includes your weapons. That is, if you plan to keep them, after all.”

John nods. He was expecting this. He figured the new commander of Fort Sill wasn’t going to be very forgiving of losing one of his longest lasting sergeants. “Thank you, sir. I’ll have my resignation letter on your desk before the end of the day.”

Colonel Johnston holds up a hand, forestalling the sergeant. “One other thing. Rather than take out that much in gold, I am going to assign you pay vouchers for the back-pay. You’ll be too easily robbed otherwise.”

John sighs. He was hoping the colonel wouldn’t play that card. The additional money in gold would be useful if it was needed. Now he has to use his own personal gold, or find an outpost that will allow him to cash in the vouchers. He nods. He doesn’t have a choice but to accept what the old man offers.

“You are dismissed, Sergeant Major.”

John salutes smartly once again, turns, then quickly leaves the commander’s office in search of his old Apache friend. He needs to have words with Red-Feather Under the Full Moon.

He knows exactly where to look to find his friend’s family. It’s the same place they have been since the birth of their last son, Running-Elk, more than sixteen years ago.

Skirting the edge of the Indian scout camp, John comes up to a lone tepee separated from the rest and has a fire going even in the late afternoon sun. Thankfully, it’s still early March. Otherwise, the fire would be too much this far south in the ‘Nations.

John approaches the tent and grins as he sees Heart-of-Falcon emerge from the tent.

She takes one look at the thunderhead John’s face is apparently, then jabs her thumb over her shoulder, indicating her husband is inside.

John nods and walks right in to be greeted by Red-Feather’s grin. “You cut the rug out from under me,” he accuses.

Red-Feather shakes his head. “No. I quit first. If I don’t, they not let me go. Both of us going is big hit against fort.”

John snorts. It’s obvious he hadn’t considered his friend’s wisdom of human nature when he was developing his strategy. Oh, well. There’s nothing to be done about it, now. “Have you found a source for buffalo yet?”

Red-Feather shakes his head. “Wife and sons still look. We get land, they get animals.”

John nods. “Alright. If that’s the case, we have a week before we need to be off the lands of the fort. I will be getting my gear together and drawing pay. I already know where we need to go look to find land for your plan.” He takes a deep breath to steel himself. “Are you ready to do this?”

“More than.”

John nods with a grin of excitement. “Great. Then let’s get to it!”

Judge Rodriguez and his wife Alanna are currently co-authoring the Legends of the Landrun Series available in e-book, paperback, and soon hardback format. They can be found here.

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