•                                  Half-breed Part 1

    by Bailey Swagerty

            The wind whistled through Pallaton’s hair as he rode through the thick woodlands of his homeland. The hooves of his horse pounded the soft earth like thunder. His horse Isetoka (meaning great warrior) was a great and well respected animal, even the fiercest of beasts coward before his majestic splendor. Pallaton was also very well respected amongst his tribe. He was a great warrior and an even better hunter. He could shoot a running target from over 100 yards away. Everyday, after making his rounds around the property his beautiful wife, Galilahi, (meaning beauty) waited for him as he rode into camp. Her eyes were a soft brown, her hair a curtain of black waves, and her skin a russet colored that shone in the sun. She was expecting a baby soon, but though she was round with motherhood, her beauty was overpowering.


          As he usually did, Pallaton rode Isetoka into the forest to scout, but today was different. He heard a cry of pain and several voices all talking at once. The great warrior skidded to a stop and raced back to the camp. He broke through the tree-line just in time to see his wife collapse on the ground. Pallaton dismounted his steed and rushed to Galilahi. “What is wrong with her?!” he cried stroking her face, twisted in pain. “Her baby is coming, get her inside!” another woman shouted. Pallaton swept the frail woman off the ground with one arm and laid her gently on a fur pelt in his tent. “Go now, wait outside” an elderly woman told him. He started to protest but her expression made him think twice. Time drug on and the cries of his wife only became more fraught with pain. His heart ached from hearing his Galilahi scream; it hurt him almost as much as it hurt her. Finally one last cry, followed by a high pitched whine came out of the tent. Pallaton peeked in the door and saw the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. She had her mother’s almond eyes and a path of fuzz that would soon be hair. “We shall name her Adsila, for she is a perfect blossom on our family tree,” Galilahi whispered. He nodded and smiled at his new miracle


        Pallaton spurred Isetoka on through the forest. Only great speed could match the feeling of love in his overflowing heart. “Me! A father!” he shouted to the stream, the trees, and the animals. Suddenly a cry ripped through the silence, not a cry of pain, but of terror. Pallaton slowly turned and looked back towards the direction of the noise. Isetoka, then, leapt back toward camp as fast as the wind. Pallaton’s mind raced with thoughts of who the cry had come from and why. He saw the trees thinning out and a bustle of movement beyond them. He flew through the remaining trees and saw the atrocity that had taken place. Children screamed, women cried, men shouted all around him. He then saw a sight that would he etched in his mind forever. His beautiful bride and newborn daughter lay on the ground, stone still. He knelt by them, and knew it was to late.

                A shout tore through his chest so strong he couldn’t help but let it out. “Who did this?!” he yelled at another man.

                “White men…” he whispered. These white men had terrorized the Cherokees for years and this was the last straw. The sadness that had overwhelmed Pallaton turned into fury. He sobbed out of anger, sadness, and lost loved. He cried for his broken family, the woman he loved and the daughter he never knew.