Saturday, November 24, 2012

The First Thanksgiving - Part 3

Nearly two months had gone by since the Pale Ones first arrived at New Mannhatta, or as they called themselves, the Inglis. The Settlers had finished most of their buildings and a palisade around the perimeter. The Temple had been dedicated in a special ceremony that one or two of the Inglis from Noopleamot had observed. They were somewhat disapproving of the Settler's beliefs but had been, for the most part, respectful. The Cheif-Priest, who called himself Priest Chon the Third, had made it very clear he did not want trouble with the Settlers from the Ten Nations, and the Captain, who was now being called the Chief, had made it clear that he wanted no trouble with the Inglis. "Our goal is not to conquer," he'd assured Priest Chon not long after their first meeting.

The Chief was very thankful that he'd allowed his navigator and one of the village Priest's disciples stay in Noopleamot to start learning the language of the Inglis and some of their history. From the reports that had come from those two, it appeared that several hundred years ago a great sickness overcame the island of the Inglis, having come on the ships of traders from the main continent, a place the natives called Urop, and spread rapidly through the Inglis homeland, killing a majority of the population in their towns and causing a collapse of the central government. The ancestors of the people of Noopleamot originally lived in a coastal town called Pleamot, and they were the survivors of the plague from that town. They fled their dying city and went inland, and built the town that the Settlers were now becoming acquainted with. The Chief had been given a rare privilege by Priest Chon to visit the home of Noopleamot's ancestors. They made a pilgrimage to the ruined city, mostly overgrown now with a few stone buildings still standing, including the shell of the city's main temple. They'd also visited the ancient harbor there, seeing what remained of docks and sea walls, most of which had collapsed and returned to a near natural seeming beach. Priest Chon explained that after the Great Dying, the survivors pulled together and formed Noopleamot. There are other settlements of survivors scattered across Inglan (what the natives call their island), and they do trade with them some. There have been small scale wars fought between some of the settlements for control of resources, but so far no tribe of the native Inglis had  attempted to restore the ancient kingdom that had united the whole island.

The Chief hoped that soon either his navigator or the disciple would return from Noopleamot so that they could start teaching the people of New Mannhatta the language of the Inglis. The Chief planned to forge a strong alliance with the Inglis of Noopleamot. He felt maintaining good relations with the natives was vital for the survival of his people and their settlement at this critical early stage in it's existence. In a decade or two, with more dissenters likely to flee the rule of the new regime in Onondaga City, he believed the population of this new settlement would rival that of Noopleamot, and the survival of his people's new foothold in the New World would not be so precarious. The ship that brought the settlers to Inglan had sailed back for the Ten Nations about a week after the settlers had made contact with the natives. The Chief believed that they would see another ship sometime the following Spring or Summer. By then, the buildings of New Mannhatta would be complete, the first fields cultivated, the wharf operational, and hopefully a trade road to Noopleamot would be built by then. So many grand plans. The Chief and the newly formed Elder's Council was optimistic about the future. 


A light snow had fallen on the ground in the region around New Mannhatta and Noopleamot. The late summer warmth that had greeted the settlers from across the Great Sea was now but a memory. The Chief was in a good mood. He, the Priest, the navigator (who was now acting as the unofficial liaison between New Mannhatta and Noopleamot), and about a dozen others were trekking through the woods towards the Inglis town, invited as guests for a special feast. According to the navigator, it was one of the Pale One's most holy of days, when they celebrate the birth of their deity. The invite to the celebration and feast at the Chief-Priest's home afterwards was a great honor. 

The sun was setting at their backs as the Settlers arrived at Noopleamot. The guards at the gate waved and opened up the big wooden doors to allow them inside the town. The houses were decorated with boughs of evergreen trees, some formed into circles and hung on doors, others lining windows. The Chief led his party to the native's stone temple in the center of town, where they were greeted warmly. They were given seats of honor near the front of the main hall, able to see all of the ceremony. Soon after their arrival, the ritual began. There was singing and chanting, old songs that mostly predated the Great Dying that celebrated the coming of the Inglis deity down to Earth. After the songs, Chief-Priest Chon stood at the central podium and read from the book of sacred writings (they called it the "byebul", according to the navigator). Following the readings, Priest Chon led those gathered in a special prayer and then another song, and then the ceremony concluded. Priest Chon then invited the party of settlers to stay in his home over night and to join him for the great feast the next day. 

The feast prepared by the Priest Chon's wife and daughter seemed quite lavish. There was a great roasted boar, and all kinds of vegetables. They were serving a local ale that the locals mostly reserved for such special occasions. Joining the Chief-Preist and his family and the Settlers was the head of the town's militia, several scribes from the small school that was in the town, and a few other notable citizens of Noopleamot. After all the food was out on the table and all the guests were seated, Priest Chon stood up and spoke. "Family, friends," the navigator translated (although the Chief was learning the Inglis tongue, he was not yet as fluent), "we are so blessed this year with the addition of the Haudenosaunee people of New Mannhatta. These peaceful people from across the Sea have been a great addition to our land, and have become good friends. May God bless this friendship and let it flourish." The people around the table all murmured agreement and raised their glasses and began to feast. As the Chief looked around, he hoped this would be the future, the people of the Homeland and the Pale Ones coming together to form a new community. Only time would tell of course, but the Chief was sure that the future was bright.  


In the decades that followed this first arrival of the Haudenosaunee people from the Americas, the colonial populations exploded in Inglan, Eyrlan, and in Urop proper. Just four years after the settling of New Mannhatta, the settler population was over one thousand, and smaller hamlets were popping up farther and farther away from the main town, which had now nearly merged with it's port. Two years after that, the militant faction that had taken control of the Ten Nations and forced this initial migration across the Great Sea lost power, and those who the Captain/Chief had initially supported took control once more. This caused an even greater explosion of settlement in the Sunrise Lands. Soon, the southern portion of Inglan was under the rule of the Great Council at New Mannhatta, including native settlements such as Noopleamot, Oakhamton, and Dorrester. Most of the Inglis welcomed the new camaraderie and unity that came with the rule of the Haudenosaunee. Some, however, believed that it would be better for the tribes of the Inglis to rise up and reestablish their once great kingdom. There would be many attempts at this, but none would last for long, primarily because no one could agree on just who should lead the Inglis tribes. 

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