Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel Notes

Before I jump into this post, Chag Urim Sameach/Happy Hanukkah.

My gift to you is, first three readers to send an email to emerdelac (AT) gmail.com get a free e-copy of Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel in .epub, .mobi, or .pdf.  Just state which you prefer. I’ll post on here when I get enough responses. (GIVEAWAY’S OVER, FOLKS. Thanks for looking – hope it was a happy holiday.)

Now on with the rest of the shew….

I like reading the thought processes and inspirations behind stuff I read by other authors. Joe R. Lansdale did this for his High Cotton collection, prefacing each story with a short bit about how it came to be. When I wrote for Star Wars I did something like this on the official blog, a sort of key to the easter eggs and references I put in the story for fans, something guys like Dan Wallace and Jason Fry still do on there.

Anyway, I’ve done one for each of the Merkabah Rider books, and it being Hankukah, felt like time to sit down and whip up one for the latest installment, Have Glyphs Will Travel, which came out at the beginning of December.

These might be partly spoiler-ific, so if you haven’t read the book yet, you might hold off and come back later.

Still here?

OK.

In Episode 9, The Long Sabbath –

Really not too much homaging in this one. The critters the turncoat riders put in the hapless adjutant and his scout are meant to be Mythos spawned of course, but they’re my own creation, sprung from me reading about the phenomenon of kamikaze ants and their last ditch method of defending their colony from invaders.

Exploding ant traps an enemy worker

Cattle stampedes are the most harrowing, violent danger I can think of for an old-time cattleman, from what I’ve read and seen. The stampede scenes in Lonesome Dove and Red River have always stuck with me. The only thing I could think of worse than being in one was being immobilized in the middle of one.

There is one extra-Rider allusion. Abe Lillard, the Rider’s best friend from San Francisco, is meant to be the half-Jewish son of Tommy Lillard, a character portrayed by Harrison Ford in a western that was a huge inspiration for The Merkabah Rider series. I would assume Abe was named for Tommy’s best friend.

Avram Belinski (L) and Tommy Lillard (R)

In Episode 10, The War Shaman –

Lots of history easter eggs in this one. It’s actually my favorite of the book as it was clearest in my head from start to finish and includes a cameo by some of the greatest of the Chiricahua Apache warriors, a people whom I have an unadulterated admiration for.

Goyaala is Geronimo of course, and stuttering Juh (pronounced ‘whoa’ if you were wondering), Vittorio and the warrior woman Lozen are all real individuals. Lozen’s purported seeing Power and the chant she uses to activate it was documented as well. As a matter of fact, all the named Apache are taken from historical record, even the outlaw Bedonkohe, Inya.

Faustus’ extra-dimensional origins have been delved into by me in an earlier post here….http://emerdelac.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/merkabah-rider-author-notes/

Of the various stories he mentions as being real, of course the whaler with the Indian figurehead is the Pequod of Moby Dick, the boy with the sword from the stone is intended to be Arthur, and the thirteen heroes with two hearts between them, well, you don’t need a ‘doctorate’ to know ‘who’ that is.

Thirteen heroes (eleven pictured) with two hearts between them.

The company of cavalry Faustus, the Rider, Belden and Kabede meet on the road are commanded by Adna Chaffee, who was an actual Civil War veteran and later became a General, seeing action in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion and the Phillipine Insurrection.

Tom Horn

Riding along with him is the famous German scout Al Seiber, who was General George Crook’s chief civilian scout during the Geronimo campaign. Tom, the boy accompanying him, is Tom Horn, the infamous range detective later hung for murder in Cheyenne,Wyoming (perhaps unjustly) and portrayed by Steve McQueen in the titular movie. Togo-de-chuz and his ‘kid’, the Apache scouts Seiber mentions as his preferred companions, were real Apache scouts, the ‘kid’ being Has-kay-bay-nay-ntayl, later known as ‘The Apache Kid.’

The Apache Kid was an interesting character who was a longtime friend (and very nearly a surrogate son) of Seiber. When a drunken scout killed his father, the Kid retaliated and became an outlaw.  He surrendered to the Army and was sentenced to a year in Alcatraz and later Yuma Territorial Prison, the latter of which he is one of the only known escapees from. He and three others overpowered some guards and fled into a snowstorm, never to be seen again. One of his pursuers was future author Edgar Rice Burroughs, then a member of the seventh cavalry!

The Apache Kid

Nacozari and the Moctezume Mining Company are both real, but the existence of the Apache stronghold of Pa Gotzin Kay is debatable. It’s tangled up with the story of the Lost Adams Diggings, a legendary gold vein, also the inspiration for MacKenna’s Gold. I’ve moved it from the traditional location of New Mexico.

Oh there’s lots of Lovecraftian stuff in this one as well. Misquamicus of course, also the subject of Graham Masterton’s great Manitou series of novels. I’ve made him a sort of endless being, on par with his brother, and tied him into most of the major Native American doings from the dawn of recorded history and on that I could find, from the early treacheries of Cortes to the Maroon rebellion in Jamaica, where I had read some of the captive Indians involved in the burning of Providence, Rhode Island had been shipped off as slaves, and I imagined Misquamacus would have found work to his liking. The Sand Creek Massacre was one of the worst acts of genocide enacted by the United States against the native populace. It was actually the basis for the original weird western stories I wrote in high school, some of which evolved into Merkabah Rider.

A deformed Misquamacus in the future, from 'The Manitou'

Misquamacus’ dealings with the Billington clan of New England are documented in Lovecraft’s The Lurker At The Threshold, where his devotion to Nyarlathotep and conjuring of Ossodagowah are both mentioned.

 The supernatural aspects of the bad guys who side with Misquamacus are mostly my own invention of course, though the Pawnee did at one time practice a somewhat infamous human sacrifice ritual, and the Tonkawas did believe they were descended from wolves. Any misrepresentations are of course my own fault, but I make no apologies portraying skinwalkers in a negative light.  I don’t think any Navajo would take issue with it.

 The Rider’s likening his claustrophobia to the various mental afflictions of an old friend from his yeshiva in San Francisco named Aloysius Monkowitz is a shameless (or perhaps shameful) allusion to a probable ancestor of a certain neurotic modern day San Francisco detective with a similar name of whom I’m a fan.

Aloysius Monkowitz's famous descendant.

In Episode 11, The Mules of The Mazzikim

This is another one short on easter eggs, but there are a couple.

The scalp the Kwtsan Indian tries to sell the Rider on the bridge going into Yuma is the scalp of Joe (John Joel) Glanton, the leader of the band of vicious scalphunters hired by the Mexican government to collect bounties on Apache Indian scalps in the 1840’s and vividly portrayed in one my favorite novels, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian or, An Evening’s Redness In The West. Glanton and his gang took over the ferry over the Gila River at Yuma and regularly robbed and extorted crossers. They were later slaughtered by the Kwtsans on that spot.

The Rabbi Belinski the Rider mentions as having overseen his bar mitzvah was the aforementioned Tommy Lillard’s best friend, a rabbi who once undertook an amazing journey across the west to deliver a Torah scroll to San Francisco.

The lawman, Marshal Books, who arrests the Rider is the same ailing Books (or perhaps the brother of) who years later has it out on his birthday in an El Paso(or perhaps Carson City) saloon with several of his nemeses.

Happy birthday, Books

In Episode 12, The Man Called Other

Every aspect of Yuma Prison I could realistically portray I did, from the color of the cots to the processing of prisoners, to the rings in the floor and The Dark Cell. I visited what’s left of the place last year and the museum that sits on the site. Judge Berry was real, and the warden of the time was the real guy, Captain C.V. Meder (though not the acting warden, obviously).

In Episode Thirteen, The Fire King Triumphant

The title of The Fire King Triumphant is paraphrased from the headline of the Tombstone Epitaph (‘The Fire King Reaps A Harvest’) about the May 1882 fire that actually swept through the town of Tombstone. It really did start in the outhouse behind Tivoli’s as depicted. If you get yourself a street map from the time, I’ve done my best to keep the layout of the story true to the town.

W.W. Spates appeared in the last book, and I talked about the inspiration for him. His colleague, the linguistic expert Warren Rice is intended to be a younger version of the silver haired linguist who accompanied Harry Armitage in The Dunwich Horror.

 China Mary, the shrewd entrepreneur with ties to the Chinese Benevolence Society (or tong) in Tombstone, was a real lady, as was her Can Can Chop House. The word her man uses to describe the amorphous beasties in Lepsy’s barrels is hundun, which does mean dumpling, or wonton, but also refers to a legendary faceless, formless beast from Chinese folklore. The hundun is primordial chaos, a lump of flesh or thunder egg from which creatures of reality are born, or a featureless creature lacking the seven openings which mark humanity.

hundun

The villain of this story Lepsy himself is a reference to a ghost story from Dudleyville or Pinal, Arizona. Lepsy supposedly did hire Chinese workers and burn them as remuneration. When a sheriff and his posse went after them, Lepsy did the same for him. In the canyon where these crimes supposedly occurred, you can see scorch marks and smell burnt flesh.

Camillus Sydney and Mollie Fly did own the photography studio in Tombstone at 312 Fremont Street. On October 26 1881 the Gunfight at the OK Corral took place in the alley between his boarding house out back and the next house over, and it was inside his place that Ike Clanton and Sheriff Johnny Behan took cover.

Fly and Mollie both took photographs in their studio and abroad, Mollie being one of the most prominent female photographers of her time. Fly took the famous photos of the Billy Clanton and the McClaurys in their caskets. Fly also accompanied Crook to Canyon de Los Embudos in 1886 and took pictures of Geronimo in the field – the only photographs of Native Americans actively engaged in resisting the US government.

Mollie Fly took this picture of the CS Fly studio as it burned for the second time in 1912.

Finally, Moon Fugate and his peculiar pigmentation condition are a reference to the famous Blue Fugates a hill clan from Hazard, Kentucky, born with methemoglobinemia or met-H, a genetic blood disorder which results in blue skin.

The Blue Fugates of Kentucky

That’s about all this time out, kiddies. Whew!

Soon, news about the final chapter in the Merkabah Rider saga. It’ll be something special.

Don’t forget the giveaway.

Happy holidays, whichever holiday it may be, and good new year on you.

-Hasta pronto,

EME

An Excerpt From Merkabah Rider: Have Glyphs Will Travel

The Merkabah Rider series from Damnation Books follows the weird western adventures of a Hasidic gunslinger tracking the renegade teacher who betrayed his mystic Jewish order of astral travelers across the demon haunted Southwest of the 1880′s. Along the way the Rider (so called because he has hidden his true name to protect himself from his enemies) confronts half-demon outlaws, animated windmills,possessed gunmen, cultists, a bordello of antedeluvian succubi, Lovecraftian entities and various other dangers.

To evoke the old Zebra/Lancer/Bantam paperback collections of Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane  and Conan, the novels are presented as collections of standalone but sequential novellas. The series currently consists of two installments, Tales of a High Planes Drifter and The Mensch With No Name, both available in print and ebook formats on Amazon.com.

This year will see the release of Have Glyphs Will Travel, the third book in the series. Included are five novellas, detailing the Rider’s dealings with extra-dimensional angels, zombies, turncoat Riders, the wrath of the Demon Queen Lilith, Navajo skinwalkers and Native American shapeshifters, fire demons, a future instructor at a certain infamous Massachussetts institution of higher learning, and his greatest enemy.

Here’s an exclusive taste of what’s to come.

In this excerpt from one of the five novellas, The War Prophet, the powerful Native American mystic (and the Rider’s old acquaintance) Misquamacus has gathered an army of vengeful warriors from various castout tribes in an effort to unify them against the white man’s encroachment and depradations, all under the power of his dark magic.

Seeking to add the might of the Chiricahua Apache nation to his own, he has called their greatest leaders to a secret meeting high in the Sierra Madres, where he has made them a tempting offer. Turn away from their traditional religion and embrace the dark gods of Misquamacus and the white nation will be rubbed out….

*

Many of the frightened rurales were cursing, wide-eyed, shaking their heads. Many more were praying. Some were even kissing crosses that dangled from wooden bead rosaries around their necks, tucked into their dirty shirts so that the Lord did not see the terrible things they did, but so that He could be gotten to in a pinch if needed.

One Mexican among them, an old vaquero on his knees, was laughing. The Rider saw Mendez, the corporal. He stood bewildered, hands snatching at the empty holsters on his belt.

“They are for you, my brothers!” Misquamacus hollered above the din of the jabbering Mexicans, his voice powerful, resounding off the great rock walls. “Do with them what you want to do!”

And they did.

Almost as one body the Indians fell hungrily upon the cringing Mexicans like a great mouth closing. Some gamely fought back, but they were unarmed and outnumbered and quickly dragged down. Not a single bullet was wasted. Those with rifles came at the rurales with the heavy butts of their weapons, dashing skulls open at a swing. Stone axes whistled and sunk into pleading faces, and were drawn out to scatter brains and teeth and then fall again. Knives flashed, passing through scalps pulled so tight they came free in the bronze fists that held them with a single swipe and left glaring patches bereft of hair and flesh, the faces of their howling victims swiftly vanishing in a curtain of blood. Machetes swept off hands and fingers interlaced in desperate prayer.

Big Anger and his Pawnees straddled their victims and worked vicious arts with their knives, slashing away age, race, and sex, leaving behind only meat, indiscernible from a butcher’s wares. Organs leapt into the air like hats on New Year’s Eve.

The Rider/Piishi saw Slim Ghost and the skinwalkers walking among the dead and dying with curved knives, stooping to extract eyes, hearts, livers, fingers, genitals, even twisting free bloody bones, all of which they stuffed into their hide satchels, for later use in their foul practices, no doubt.

The Ishaks and the Tonkawas fell wholly upon their kills, burying their faces in the cavernous wounds they ripped open with their fingers. Piishi’s digestive system reacted with violent disgust at their display, and the Rider put the back of his hand to his lips and swallowed rising bile as Moon Cloud and Bloody Jaw wrestled over the bloody corpse of a fat rurale. One end of a rope of intestines twisted in-between each man’s teeth, the two of them snarling at each other like wild dogs. Indeed, they looked very much like animals. Their eyes grew wide and black , and they seemed hairier than before. Their ears elongated, sharpening in elfish grotesqueness, and their teeth were suddenly pointed and jagged, wolf-like in their gory mouths, extending in some kind of perverse, ravenous arousal. They were changing before their very eyes, something in their doing bringing out their true, inhuman natures, until Bloody Jaw was more wolf than the black hide and cowl trappings that hung from his bulky, misshapen shoulders. Moon Cloud matched his bestial visage.

The Rider looked through the massacre and found Goyaałé. The Bedonkohe war chief had made his way to the still laughing old caballero, and hoisted him to his feet. He raised his bloody knife to end him.

“Goyaałé!” The Rider called in as loud a voice as he could manage, which was considerable, given the acoustics of the canyon.

Goyaałé heard, and paused to look. A moment’s searching and he found the source.

“Look!” The Rider yelled, pointing to Moon Cloud and Bloody Jaw.

Goyaałé followed the indicatory gesture and his lip curled when he saw the two transformed chiefs. He let the old caballero fall and backed away. His eyes flitted all around the killing ground, and he saw the other Ishaks and Tonkawas changing into wolf-beasts.

The Rider watched as Goyaałé rushed through the crowd and found Lozen and Vittorio. He snatched the rifle from Lozen’s belt.

Before she could react, he levered it and fired it into the air.

It was a startling sound, and every man and woman stopped. Even the hairy beasts that had once been Indians raised their elongated doggish muzzles from the bellies of their kills and regarded him with feral eyes.

Lozen moved to take the rifle back, but Goyaałé said something and pointed.

Lozen and Vittorio saw.

All the Apache, their attention momentarily lifted from their bloody work to the two leaders, followed their shocked gazes and saw.

And as one, just as they had closed upon the Mexicans, they now recoiled and withdrew. Not a single Mexican was still alive.

“What is this, Mis-kwa-macus?” Vittorio yelled, pointing to the wolf creatures. “What are these?”

“They are the Rugarou Ishaks and the True Tonkawas. The last of their kind,” said Misquamacus. “Just as I told you.”

“They are monsters!”

The blood spattered Apache voiced their agreement with angry and frightened shouts.

“Not so! Not so!” Misquamacus yelled over them. “They are your brothers, ready to fight the white man at your side. Does Usen not teach you that the beasts are your kin? Do you not emulate the ferocity of the puma and the cunning of the beaver?”

One of the skinwalkers was nearby, and Goyaałé rushed at him without warning and cut his satchel from his shoulder with his knife, then shook out its grisly contents on the ground, where all could see them. The shriveled fist of a child rolled out among the fresh trophies.

“Usen does not teach us this!” he called.

“You have said that we must turn from Usen to defeat the white man,” Vittorio said. He pointed to the transformed Ishaks and Tonkawas. “Is this what happened to them when they turned from their god?”

“I offer you the death of the white man and the Mexicans for all time,” said Misquamacus. “I offer you a thousand nights like this one, with your enemies beneath your knives. With the power of my god, I can snatch the Great Father in Washington from his house and bring him to us. I can pull the rails out from under the iron snakes and fling them into the air. I can put my hand over the soldier forts that rise like ugly boils across all the land and send you in to cut their throats in their beds. I can turn the weapons of the enemy against them, make their ponies burst into flame between their legs, turn their bullets to raindrops. I can geld the white man and seal up his women. I can make it so your children will never know those people but from the stories told around your fires.”

“Who is your god that promises us these great victories, Mis-kwa-macus?” Goyaałé demanded. “It is time you told us.”

“Yes,” said Vittorio. “Who is your god that is so great but would bother with us?”

In answer, Misquamacus raised his arms for silence.

Slim Ghost and eight of the skinwalkers went to the base of the stone and knelt in a circle. They upended a series of small black pouches from their satchels into their hands and closed them into fists. Colored sand ran through their fingers, and with measured care they began to let the sand fall in ordered patterns on the bloody red earth. It was wondrous to see them work, ten men making a large vaguely circular picture, each acting independently, and yet their labors taking on a unified pattern, as if they possessed one mind, one vision. Silently, and without pause or consultation, they worked, forming mystic shapes and figures incomprehensible to outsiders and yet obviously inspired. As they worked, the colored sand drank up the spilled blood beneath, darkening in color where it fell.

The others watched them restlessly. The sun sank, and campfires had to be lit. All this was done in silence. No one dared to interrupt the skinwalkers’ work.

When it was at last finished, they rose as one and returned to the ranks of their people, and a mesmerizing sand painting lay before the stone on which Misquamacus had stood the whole time, observing. Red and blacks and blues dominated the work, and there were dancing feathered figures, moons, stars, and geometric patterns. To the Rider, only a few of these seemed somewhat familiar, some of them not unlike the diagrams found in the Book of Zylac. Yet all were distinctly Indian in their interpretation. Central to the painting was a strange faceless humanoid shape of black sand.

Misquamacus removed something from his satchel then, a polished mirror fragment, the size of a man’s head. He placed it in the center to the sand painting, over the center shape.

Then, before their eyes, that black shape began to grow oily and to boil like hot tar.

A lump rose from the center and took shape, congealing into a man-like form, carrying the fragment of mirror with it. Steam rose from the thing, as if it was hotter than the cool mountain air around it. When it had completed its unnatural birth, it stood nearly eight feet tall, like an earthen statue, black, with bumpy skin, like a flayed corpse, faceless but for the smooth mirror.

The Rider/Piishi recognized the same being they had seen in Misquamacus’ wickiup.

The Dark Man.

Black, foul smelling smoke, like the oily stench of a machine fueled by corpses, pouring from around the edges of the thing’s mirror mask, billowing unnaturally around the figure, never rising, cloaking it in a greasy fog.

The Ishaks and Tonkawas fell to all fours and pressed their jaws to the earth like submitting hounds. They sent up a bone chilling baying and howling din, so terrible that the Apaches clamped their hands over their ears to hear it. The Pawnees put their foreheads to the earth, and even the skinwalkers knelt and bowed their heads. The Apaches moved away, frightened of the thing.

Misquamacus turned and went to his knees, arms still above his head in adoration.

“Behold Tezcatlipoca! The Dark Wind. We are his slaves. Nyarlathotep!”

Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel

Pick up the book here -

http://www.amazon.com/Merkabah-Rider-Have-Glyphs-Travel/dp/1615725539/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337669430&sr=8-1-spell

One Who Yawns

Having nearly reached the mid-point on the next installment in my Merkabah Rider series Have Glyphs Will Travel, I decided to take some time out to talk a little about one of the characters appearing in the second (and as yet unnamed) episode.

A lot happens in this book, as the series enters the home stretch. Key details of the Hour of Incursion plot will be revealed, the succubus Nehema will return, and the Rider’ s nemesis Adon will finally make an appearance.

Historical characters have appeared in Merkabah Rider before. ‘Mysterious’ Dave Mather and John ‘Doc’ Holiday featured prominently in The Mensch With No Name, as well as members of Las Vegas, New Mexico’s infamous Dodge City Gang. Tales of a High Planes Drifter had Josephine ‘Sadie’ Marcus, the future wife of Wyatt Earp, and her shiftless beau and soon-to-be Cochise County Sheriff, Johnny Behan.

With Have Glyphs Will Travel I decided to visit another historical persona, one whom I’ve admired for a good deal of my life.

Born Goyaałé in Arizona Territory in 1829 to the Bedonkohe band of the Apache (which is actually a misnomer, as are most popularly known Indian tribal names. Names like Sioux and Apache are usually attributed by adversarial tribes allied with European/Spanish/Mexican/American people, and more often than not – as in the case of ‘Sioux’ translate into ‘enemy.’ The origin of the term ‘Apache’ is lost to history, first being recorded in 1598), he lost took a wife at 17 and fathered three children, raising them in the traditions of his people, which included belief in one God, Usen.

The Apaches had been fighting off European incursion for decades by this time. Apacheria covered areas of southeastern Arizona, northern Mexico, New Mexico, western Texas, and southeastern Utah, southern Colorado, and parts of Oklahoma. Problems with Spanish colonists was inevitable, but sporadic, until shortly after Mexican Independence when the government began posting rewards for Apache scalps (a practice portrayed brilliantly in Cormac McCarthy’s apocalyptic novel Blood Meridian or, An Evening’s Redness In The West).  When the chief of the Mimbreno Apaches was killed for bounty money, this touched off a series of aggressive retaliatory raids by the succeeding chief, Mangas Coloradas.

Then in 1846 war broke out between Mexico and the U.S.  Having fostered a growing hatred for their Mexican neighbors in the preceding decade of brutality and mutual bloodshed, most Apache bands allowed free passage of American troops through their lands. When the war ended, a new peace treaty between the Apache and the Americans was signed, but the Mexicans hated the Apache more than ever.

At the age of 29, Goyaałé and the men of his village traveled to the Mexican town of Janos to trade, leaving a few warriors to guard the women and children. While they were away, 400 Mexican troops under the command of Colonel José María Carrasco attacked. Some women escaped and were found by the returning warriors, who resolved to hide until nightfall and then sneak into the silent village.  In the dark, Goyaałé  found his elderly mother, wife, and all three children dead.

“I stood until all had passed, hardly knowing what I would do. I had no weapon, nor did I hardly wish to fight, neither did I contemplate recovering the bodies of my loved ones, for that was forbidden. I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything in particular, for I had no purpose left. I finally followed the tribe silently, keeping just within hearing distance of the soft noise of the feet of the retreating Apaches….None had lost as I had, for I had lost all.”

A year later, Goyaałé had joined the ranks of Mangas Coloradas and successfully broached an alliance with the Chiricahua under Cochise and the Nedni under Juh. He guided this army of Apache into Mexico. Coming upon the town of Arizpe, which had been founded by the Jesuit missionary Jeronimo de Canal, Goyaałé recognized the same cavalry that had been involved in the massacre of his village and asked to lead the attack.

The ensuing battle lasted two hours, and ended with Goyaałé  killing the last two Mexican combatants himself, one with the man’s own sabre. It is said that it was at this fight that Goyaałé earned the name he was forever after known by among non-Apaches. Some accounts say that the Mexican soldiers prayed to St. Jerome to deliver them, but as Jerome is the patron saint of librarians and scholars, I’m sure it probably has something more to do with the Jesuit founder of the town.

Whatever the reason, Goyaałé  became Geronimo. 

In the years that followed, Vittorio and Mangas Coloradas both fell in battle with the Mexicans or the Americans. In 1886, after evading thousands of Mexican and U.S. troops for over a year, Geronimo finally surrendered to white authority, the last of the Apache to do so.

Legends about Geronimo abound. He was never a proper chief, but it was said he had the power to see the future and to stop bullets, and time itself. After being chased up into the Robledo (some accounts say Superstition) Mountains by U.S. soldiers, he and his band took shelter in a certain cave and never emerged. The soldiers finally gave up. Of course Geronimo popped up again somewhere else.

I don’t know what exactly resonates with me and the story of Geronimo. I’m not the least bit Indian. I guess I like an underdog, and to read about tenacious individuals. I think it’s people like Geronimo that form the concept of the American individual, even fighting the American government as he did (and as Americans have done and must still sometimes do). I believe Geronimo inspires the legacy of resistance to tyranny upon which the American ideal was founded.

So what happened to Geronimo?

Well, after a long life on three different reservations, he died in Oklahoma in 1909, far away from Apacheria. The legends didn’t stop there of course. In a fittingly ironic twist, rumors still persist today that Prescott Bush of the infamous Bush clan stole Geronimo’s skull while serving as an Army volunteer at Ft. Sill and spirited it to the Yale headquarters of the Skull and Bones society, assembly line of elitist oligarchs since 1839 . This is generally refuted as Geronimo’s grave was unmarked at the time.

Several movies were made about him, the best probably being Geronimo: An American Legend with Wes Studi in the title role.

Notice the actor playing Geronimo doesn't get top billing!

Chuck ‘The Rifleman’ Connors played him too. I like Chuck Connors.

Chuck Connors as Geronimo

John Wayne in 'The Conqueror'

I like John Wayne. John Wayne played Genghis Khan once…’nuff said.

Still no top billing for the actor playing the titular character....

Geronimo’s other legacy is the famous World War II paratrooper call mentioned above, which was first enacted by Georgian Private Aubrey Eberhardt of the fledgling Parachute Test Platoon at Ft. Benning.  The day before his first jump out of an airplane, Aubrey and some friends watched a 1939 Paramount movie starring the imposing Victor ‘Chief Thundercloud’ Daniels (a Cherokee actor who originated the role of Tonto in the early Lone Ranger serials) in the titular role of Geronimo. Chided about his nervousness later by his fellows, Eberhardt promised that to prove he could sustain his courage while plummeting thousands of feet, tomorrow he would call out to them a certain phrase as he jumped, to let them know he hadn’t lost his nerve.

The distinctive word he chose was ‘Geronimo.’

In the months to come, as the number of trainees grew into five full blown Airborne Divisions, the paratroopers carried the battle cry to the skies over Europe. The first division to be instated, the 501st Parachute Infantry Batallion, chose the name as their motto and insignia. The 50th PIR also adapted the name, and Geronimo’s warrior legacy (whether the soldiers were aware of it or not) landed at D-Day with the men of the 101st Airborne, who wore war paint and shaved their heads into mohawks (and still do).

Colonel Byron Page of the 11th Airborne wrote the classic paratrooper cadence Down From Heaven, which goes -

 
 
 Down from Heaven comes Eleven
and there’s Hell to pay below
shout “GERONIMO” “GERONIMO”.
It’s a gory road to glory
but we’re ready here we go
shout “GERONIMO” “GERONIMO”.
Hit the silk and check your canopy
and take a look around
The air is full of troopers
set for battle on the ground
killed on Leyte and Luzon
shout “GERONIMO” “GERONIMO”.
 

 

The ‘eleven’ refers to the number of jumpers in a plane (which coincidentally brings us back to Matt Smith, the 11th incarnation of Doctor Who, who yells Geronimo in his debut episode, The Eleventh Hour) .

Nifty, huh?

And that’s about all I have to say about Geronimo, the man and the phrase.

But how the hell does Geronimo fit into Merkabah Rider anyway?

1880 is dawning and The Great Old Ones are coming. 

A war to clear their path is being fought in the Southwest and the Outer Gods are fielding their Native American general, Misquamacus (of The Lurker On The Threshold and The Manitou), who drifts into the San Carlos Reservation preaching victory over the invading whites.  The greatest guerilla force extant is the Apache. Vittorio, Juh, and Nana are at the height of their powers, and Misquamacus calls a meeting at one of the great hidden strongholds deep within the Sierra Madres. All the Indian must do to defeat the white man and the Mexican forever is to turn from the veneration of Usen and fight for the Great Old Ones.

And among the gathered warriors is a broad, silent man with hatred in his ears, but the teachings of his murdered mother in his heart. A man who wrote;

“When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men….while I live, I want to live well.”

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