From the Diary of Garret John McEwan
October 7, 1879
Wildlands North of Scully, California. Weather grey.
Marcus is as near to dead as I’ve ever seen a man, and I honestly don’t know if there’s any way to save him. We were ambushed yesterday by Indians with guns as we followed the stage-robbers’ trail. The Indians spotted Ben was a healer and wanted to take him, I guess, but they damn near killed him first. They had a sniper picking us off like we were ducks on a frozen pond.
They shot Ben full in the face, knocking him to the ground. Marcus and myself were quick to return fire, while Lefeau rode up to aid Ben and was shot himself for his troubles, despite Marcus’ and my efforts. We were outflanked and outgunned, and could sorely have used Carter’s help.
One of the Indians unhorsed Marcus, then made a valiant attempt to ride him down. As they were shooting from a distance and up close, I took to the ground to present a smaller target, and was nearly trampled myself. I thank the Lord for quick reflexes that spared me an ugly death.
Ben used his Navajo arts to heal himself, though he seemed concussed even so.
Lefeau used conjured magic in our defense, tossing playing cards like they were knives or sticks of dynamite which burst into flames as they landed on the enemy. If not for the fact that Lefeau was aiding us, I might have had more qualms about the source of his power, for it was certainly not in the seeming a God-given thing. But it is said the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and judge not lest ye be judged.
Between Marcus’ and my guns, Ben’s arrows, and Lefeau’s conjuration, we were able to eliminate the threat near to hand, leaving only the sniper. Ben had taken additional injury, so I pulled him into the shallow gulch from which our tormentors had emerged, together with Marcus and Lefeau. We had cover there, but before we could formulate a plan, Marcus came out of the hole and remounted, taking off after the sniper like he was was still fighting with a full army and heavy artillery at his back.
I had no choice but to light out after him, admonishing Ben and Lefeau to remain low, but Marcus was well ahead of me and I lost sight of him when he went behind some rocks where the sniper was taking cover. Next I knew, Lefeau had ridden up with me, and the sniper was engaged in hand-to-hand with Marcus. Marcus took a knife deep to the gut and crumpled, groaning. I managed to get my last shot off into the Indian’s shoulder, but the bastard didn’t drop. He turned, screamed some challenge in Sioux, and loosed his shotgun direct into Marcus’ face.
It was like seeing the coming to fruition of the evil Marcus sewed the day before, allowing his prisoner to be executed while defenseless. Lefeau seemed to have no more of his conjuring cards, for he resorted to his derringer, which finally dropped the brave. But too late.
When all was done, the Indians lay dead, their ponies captured, and Marcus was barely recognizable, breathing his last. Ben rode up then and applied miraculous healing, sealing up the terrible wounds in Marcus’s face and body, but though my friend looked whole again, his eyes did not open.
Ben said the reason was the evil in the land, and our only recourse was to continue to the Valley of the Bones, to try to free the imprisoned Indian god and right the wrong that made it impossible for him to heal Marcus. I cannot countenance a god who is not God Jehovah of the Holy Bible, but I have seen enough in these latter days to convince me that there could well be an Angel of the Lord known to the Navajo as a god, imprisoned and suffering, bringing blight to the land.
We secured all and made to head on, when I caught the sound of horses approaching, so we hid ourselves once more in the crevice, fearing the Sioux who had attacked us may be from a larger party. Instead we saw a party of white men riding fast, who carried on without noticing our presence.