In the 25th century, as Julian XX, the fierce Red Hawk, he will lead humanity’s final battle against the alien invaders. The American people are now a nomadic horse nation, painted and feathered. Their chieftain is Julian, the Red Hawk, and he is planning the final defeat of the hated Kalkans after centuries of oppression.
141 pages, with a reading time of ~2.25 hours (35,370 words), and first published in 1925. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2017.
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The January sun beat hotly upon me as I reined Red Lightning in at the summit of a barren hill and looked down toward the rich land of plenty that stretched away below me as far as the eye could see. In that direction was the mighty sea, a day’s ride, perhaps, to the westward-the sea that none of us had ever looked upon; the sea that had become as fabulous as a legend of the ancients during the nearly four hundred years since the Moon men swept down upon us and overwhelmed the earth in their mad and bloody carnival of revolution.
In the near distance the green of the orange groves mocked us from below, and great patches that were groves of leafless nut trees, and there were sandy patches toward the south that were vineyards waiting for the hot suns of April and May before they, too, broke into riotous, tantalizing green. And from this garden spot of plenty a curling trail wound up the mountainside to the very level where we sat gazing down upon this last stronghold of our foes.
When the ancients built that trail it must have been wide and beautiful indeed, but in the centuries that elapsed man and the elements have sadly defaced it. The rains have washed it away in places, and the Kalkars have made great gashes in it to deter us, their enemies, from invading their sole remaining lands and driving them into the sea; and upon their side of the gashes they had built forts where they keep warriors always. It is so upon every pass that leads down into their country. And well for them that they do so guard themselves!
Since fell my great ancestor, Julian 9th, in the year 2122, at the end of the first uprising against the Kalkars, we have been driving them slowly back across the world. That was more than three hundred years ago. For a hundred years they have held us here, a day’s ride from the ocean. Just how far it is we do not know; but in 2408 my grandfather, Julian 18th, rode alone almost to the sea.
He had won back nearly to safety when he was discovered and pursued almost to the tents of his people. There was a battle, and the Kalkars who had dared invade our country were destroyed, but Julian 18th died of his wounds without being able to tell more than that a wondrously rich country lay between us and the sea, which was not more than a day’s ride distant. A day’s ride, for us, might be anything under a hundred miles.
We are desert people. Our herds range a vast territory where feed is scarce, that we may be always near the goal that our ancestors set for us three centuries ago-the shore of the western sea into which it is our destiny to drive the remnants of our former oppressors.
In the forests and mountains of Arizona there is rich pasture, but it is far from the land of the Kalkars where the last of the tribe of Or-tis make their last stand, and so we prefer to live in the desert near our foes, driving our herds great distances to pasture when the need arises, rather than to settle down in a comparative land of plenty, resigning the age old struggle, the ancient feud between the house of Julian and the house of Or-tis.
A light breeze moves the black mane of the bright bay stallion beneath me. It moves my own black mane where it falls loose below the buckskin thong that encircles my head and keeps it from my eyes. It moves the dangling ends of the Great Chief’s blanket strapped behind any saddle.
On the twelfth day of the eighth month of the year just gone this Great Chief’s blanket covered the shoulders of my father, Julian 19th, from the burning rays of the summer’s desert sun. I was twenty on that day, and on that day my father fell before the lance of an Or-tis in the Great Feud, and I became the Chief of Chiefs.
Surrounding me to-day as I sit looking down upon the land of my enemies are fifty of the fierce chieftains of the hundred clans that swear allegiance to the house of Julian. They are bronzed and, for the most part, beardless men.
The insignias of their clans are painted in various colors upon their foreheads, their cheeks, their breasts. Ocher they use, and blue and white and scarlet. Feathers rise from the head bands that confine their hair-the feathers of the vulture, the hawk, and the eagle. I, Julian 20th, wear a single feather. It is from a red-tailed hawk-the clan sign of my family.