The Curse of Mala Rosa Chapter 2 "When The White Raven Flies"


Lost-Road-RossIt was a bright and sunny day, just after a spectacular  sunrise. The waters off what is San Diego Bay were calm, the breakers foaming, steady and methodical. San Diego de Alcala had been claimed for the Spanish king in 1602 by Vizcaino, even though some sixty years earlier Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo had done the same thing. Vizcaino claimed he did not recognize the bay, even from Cabrillo's detailed logs and descriptions. By 1769 when the Spanish Father Junipero Serra and the Spanish army contingent arrived in San Diego, bent on colonization and established the first of twenty one missions in California, the Mission San Diego de Alcala.

They defeated the native peoples, including the Tipai-Kumayaay people.This had been the practice for some 275 years in the Americas. The Spanish were  firmly entrenched and had enslaved the natives, destroying their crops, their way of life along with their homes and villages. Most devastating of all was their determined efforts to convert the people to Catholicism. Even though they had established advanced agricultural practices,practices that the Spanish had no knowledge of at all, all farming was to be by European methods, with no variation. Their Presidio (fort in Spanish) is known today as Presidio Hill. Built on visually serene, strategic and lush lands, formerly a Kumayaay village. The meadows, valleys, mesas, and creeks had been their home for centuries and had always been well defended. Up on a promontory, one could see all the way to the coast on a clear day, some eleven miles.

In 1778 the Kumayaay rose up and fought the Spanish to drive them out of their homelands. These efforts were futile. The Spanish were to continue to dominate the natives as they had done before the uprising. Before the Spanish had arrived, they lived in harmony in triplets of 300 persons or so ,spread throughout the rich and fruitful lands in villages established years ago. They had hoped to farm, fish, hunt, and trade again like they had for so many generations. After the uprising was was over, four local Chieftains were executed in a public place within Presidio Hill. The natives were required to witness their leaders being murdered. The Spanish were sure that the possibility of future uprisings were slim,and their stronghold and enslavement would be secure for all time.

The ramifications to the triblets and the chieftains families were sure to be severe and heinous in nature. How many of the Chieftain's families would die or suffer terrible retributions?  HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR'S father had been a beloved Chieftain and one that led the others to the insurrection. Her brother was now Chief, One Blue Eye was his name. He was also very young, five years younger than HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR and had little knowledge of the world and of sensible dealings with people. He was just a boy and not at all yet wise. Their two older brothers had been killed in the battles during the uprising. All of their families, the people of their triblet were terrified of what the soldiers would do now. The talk was  rampant. Most wanted to flee to the mountains to the east, and surely become invisible among the tall pines and the inaccessible rock strewn arroyos. Would they all be beheaded or shot and left to rot in the hot summer sun, their bodies to be picked over by the jaguars, coyotes, wolves, ravens, and the gulls, until their bones were bleached by the sea and the sun? One Blue Eye decreed calmly that they would all stay and that he would speak to the Spanish, that he would convince them that there was no longer any threat to them and they would therefor be safe and secure. Most did not believe their young chieftain. Especially his sister. Even though she was not a man, her father had said many times, privately and within the people of the triblet, that she should be in charge when he is gone, but this could not happen. She was a woman!

The next sunrise found the villagers, frightened with angst and fear. Lookouts ran into the village, warning of a large group of soldiers approaching. Commanded by Captain Pacho Guerrero, the soldiers marched  with a grand show of strength into their village. Villagers that were too close to their formations were prodded with lances or whipped to get to move move aside, others that dared stare back without a look of humbleness in their eyes received similar punishments. Some did not rise from the attacks. "Who is in charge of this pitiful gathering?" Shouted Lt. Macias. One Blue Eye strode forth with confidence, he had dressed in his finest garb and had a proud look on his face,"I am the leader of my people. I answer for them."

"I'll speak to this trash, Lt. Macias," said Captain Guerrero. "You answer for these people,do you? You do not look old enough to have pell on your verga, much less to know what to do with it," scowled Captian Guerrero."I need some answers now, little verga. I need answers for the action you people took against my soldiers," he said now shouting more loudly. Spittle was running down his chin and into his black beard. His eyes were wide and glaring, his cheeks showed red.

Shadow Owl hurriedly ran into her tule and said in a firm voice, "HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR, you must listen to me carefully. What I am to ask you now will determine whether you will live or die. Your brother will offer you and your five attendants to this Spanish jellyfish and I feel that none of you will survive being slaves. He will make you lie with him. When he does, you must not resist." Shadow Owl was the elder of their village, no one knew how old he was, they just knew his words were true and wise words and one could know that the sunrise, the ocean tides, the crows in flight, and the sunsets were as true as his words. "When he lies with you and after he has taken you, all of your attendants will change shape. A black jaguar, a wolf, a coyote, a cougar, and a white raven. They are to kill the captors that are holding them, then come to your tent and the Captain must not live. You have seen what these animals can do,their vengeance will be the vengeance of all of your people and for your dead father, our Chieftain. The child you will carry will be a man child. He will become Chieftain of our people."

"Why will he become Chieftain, mOne Blue Eye is our Chieftain?" She asked feeling Shadow Owl and his urgency. "That will be revealed to you soon. After you all have made your escape, you must leave for the mountains where the sun rises and stay until your child is born. Your attendants will protect you on this journey, and the white raven will be the eyes for your journey. I will have several men go with you to build you a safe shelter of tree boughs and limbs. The kind of shelter that as the forest grows, it will become invisible. I will also see what the raven sees and I will know when to send for the boy child."

"I want to stay with my people. I am confused," she meekly responded. "There is no time to be confused.There is only time to be the daughter of your father, our Chieftain. There is something else that I must tell you now," he said with a hard stare as he looked directly at her with his dark eyes."What is it Shadow Owl?"

"You will never return to your people. You will never die. Your child will be the way you have chosen to help your people. I need your answer before you leave the tule to meet the Spanish." She glanced at the five women beside her. The looks in their eyes gave her the answer. "I will do this for my people, Shadow Owl. For this I thank you. I fear that I will not see you again." He nodded and his eyes softened and he lowered his head. He had a look she had never seen in him before, one of relief and sadness at the same time. They all rose and left the tule to go outside. Shadow Owl left quickly to his tule to make ready for the curse.

Seeing the state that the Captain was getting into and knowing he had better do something to impress and calm him, One Blue Eye knew he must do this thing quickly or many would die that day. "HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR, my sister, come here to me," he commanded. She gasped as did the crowd. She had been watching from back in by her home, her tule, and she calmly, with her five attendants, walked slowly to where the Captain and her brother stood. The five young women joined behind her. She stood proudly and announced to them both,"I , HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR, sister of our Chief and only daughter of my dead father. Brother, what is it that you require of me?"

"The Spanish Captain has come to our village and wants some answers for the actions taken by our father and the other Chieftains."

"Are you asking me what my solutions would be to this question," she said with a quizzical look on her face. He puffed himself up to his maximum height, which was just a fraction over that of her's and said, "no, I am not, sister." He turned to all of the villagers that were formed in front of the armed soldiers, and said clearly and resolutely for all to hear, "I am now decreeing that the Captain will have the gift of my sister, HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR, and her five attendants, to do with as he pleases. I only ask his mercy and the continued safety of our people, and my hope is he and the Spanish king will accept this gift and know we have only humbleness to offer."

When the Captain hear the proclamation, a grin came over his face."Hold my horse," he tersely commanded a private standing close. He climbed off his horse, adjusted his sword. With sweeps of his hand he brushed some road dust from his shoulder epaulets, doffed his hat and did the same to it. Casually he pulled an elegant lace kerchief from his tunic and wiped his sweaty brow and the inside brim of his hat. He then carefully folded the lace, replaced it in the tunic, re-buttoned it and put his hat back on. Now feeling a better symbol of his rank and station, he said to One Blue Eye, "my savage friend. You truly amaze me. These gifts, as you call them, are to compensate my King and what your people did to my soldiers? My little verga, you are more of a fool than I thought you were. There is nothing or no one in your filthy little encampment that will ever satisfy the lives you have taken or the time you have robbed us of. Valuable time to develop this land for our sovereign King Carlos III. All of your people will do as we tell you. You will become of the Faith and the loyal subjects of our King," he said his voice rising steadily. "All of your people, my young boy, will work to grow the crops and toil as we demand for all of your days to come."

Everyone was getting more and more nervous, except for HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR and her attendants. Their calmness was being noticed by those around them. Captain Guerrero was briskly striding back and forth now in front of the gathering. "As for your gifts. Why would accept these gifts which I had planned to take anyway and do with what I please. As for your sister, she may prove to be an interesting diversion. Her women? My men will surely find tasks for them,during the day and especially at night! Now my little verga, we will talk about you. You have said that you are the Chieftain of these people. I have a plan made perfect for a Chieftain.. It is a very fair plan, and I think you will agree. Nod, if you agree with me that I have a fair plan. One Blue Eye nods his head timidly. My translator has said that you were decreeing the terms of your wishes to atoll for the atrocities your people have committed to the soldiers of my King. Now it is my turn to decree something about you, my little brother."

"Lt. Macias,bind little brothers hands behind him tightly with rawhide. Make the knots especially firm and secure. Splash some water from a canteen on them, they will tighten quickly in this hot sun. I want him to be very uncomfortable. That is another thing,little brother. I do not want to stand here in the heat of the day trifling with you and these wretches you call your people, any longer." Lt. Macias had three soldiers grab One Blue Eye and bind his hands. "Now place him in front of those stones over there. I want the lead to strike the stones as they travel through his body. I have heard it is more painful when that happens," grinning as he gave the commandment.

The soldiers grabbed his arms roughly and dragged him, legs and knees digging furrows into the soft soil,and stood him in front of the stacked stones. There was a stillness within the crowd. No one dared to move, cough, or speak. There were small children sniffling and sobbing quietly, their mothers yanking on their hands and whispering in their ears. This Captain was unpredictable. It could be that they all would die this day. HAIR THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR, face raised to the sun, eye closed tightly, thought about how brave her brother was being. He was to die a young boy, but he would be remembered. She was also thinking about her fate, and that of her women. What was it going to be like to live forever? For a moment the thought gave her a chill as if the wind has whipped off the surf on a dark and rainy day. She decided that her decision would never allow her to think about this day again. They all had many perilous and dark days ahead to endure, and she must do as Shadow Owl had instructed them to do. The sadness for her people would have to be short lived. They had known this sadness since these invaders had come to their land.

She looked down and saw that a formation of soldiers were being placed in front of her brother. Five kneeling and five standing behind, all with their big guns at the ready. "We are ready my Captain," said Lt. Macias. Captain Guerrero strode triumphantly over the gathering like a peacock. "Little brother, I see that my Lieutenant has added some bindings at your elbows. That must really be painful. I very much hope that it is painful, little brother."

"Lt.Macias," he barked sharply.

"Yes sir,my Captain."

"You are to make sure that all of the shots find their target. understand?"
"Yes,my Captain," he responded with authority.

"One more thing, Lt Macias."

"Yes,My Captain."

"You are to make sure that none of the shots enter his heart or his skull. I want to see him suffer like a rabid dog. If we are fortunate, we can find a place in the shade, have a cool drink of water, and watch the blood drain from the many holes in our little brother's useless body. Do you understand?"

"Yes,my Captain."

"One more thing. Have you put your best marksmen on this squad of death," he asked.

"Yes, I understand, my Captain, and I have placed the very best of our company to perform this task," he boasted proudly.

"Very good, lieutenant. You may proceed  at your own pace." Lt. Macias walked up alongside the men, drew his sword and shouted, "ready. Aim. Fire." The volley echoed through the little arroyo where the village was situated. All of those present shuddered at the roar of the muskets and blinked as the smoke wafted into their eyes and made them sting and water. Some saw the lead hit their Chieftain with a horror on their faces. When the light wind had cleared the smoke away, One Blue Eye's body was still writhing where he had fallen in front of the stones and on the soft dirt. The blood was flowing from his mouth, and the short hollow breaths of  badly punctured lungs were heaving in his mangled chest. His rare antelope skin shirt with the many colored sea shells and abalone sewed on by his mother was now destroyed. His mother had bartered one hundred dried silver fish, that only come at the high moon, for that pelt. The weeping could be heard throughout the crowd. The soldiers had removed their hats. Some were smoking and talking. Others immediately started cleaning their pieces, these were probably the expert marksmen, waiting to be ready for any further orders from the Captain that day.

Captain Guerrero called Lt. Macias over and said something in his ear. "He perked up and looked to the soldiers," Sergeant Villa, get some men and prop up the savage on his knees and hold him there. The sergeant and three men walked over to One Blue Eye and did as ordered. The body was still heaving, not yet quiet. Lt. Macias quickly strode over the them, grabbed One Blue Eye by the hair, lifted his head upright, and with a swift downward movement of his sword, he severed the head cleanly. He held the head high and waved it all about, the blood splattering around. The soldiers cheered and waved their lances, hats, and muskets in the air. Lt. Macias had been given this honor for his good performance that day. He also knew that he may also receive a letter of commendation that would surely help him advance up the ranks. If only his father, also a career soldier, could see him that day. He would be very proud of his son. Captain Guerrero wanted to make sure this act was performed before the body was completely dead. His orders were to make an example of this village, and he was determined to perform as ordered by his superiors. Later the Friars would have a much easier time keeping these people docile and timid.

"Lt. Macias, we have celebrated quite enough. Place that head on a pike firmly in the dirt. Have the translator tell them that if it is removed from the pike, I will return and behead ten of the villagers. Tell them they will be children. That will keep them in line. Put that whore of a sister of this head and her women in irons, and make ready to move the men out. We have another village to go to before sunset. Make sure we fill our skins with water, take any goats or food they have stored. Bring that sister over here for me to look at. Finally before we leave Lt. Macias," he said grinning again. "Have all of the men piss in their water supply, shovel in some horse dung for good measure and set all of these hovels alight. That will finish my example quite well, I am sure." Still proud of his recognition that day he replied clearly,"yes,my Captain."

"Well sister, your day has not turned out too be to good, has it?" He grabbed her by the irons and yanked her to where she was in front of him. "Let me have a closer look at you." He pulled the sweat stained lace kerchief from his tunic again spit in her face two or three times,and rubbed vigorously. "Let's see what is under that filth, little sister." She took the abuse, knowing Captain Guerrero would soon experience his death. Perhaps a fate as terrible as her father had and her brother had suffered that day. She imagined what it would be like to be eaten alive by a black jaguar, a coyote, a wolf, a cougar, and have the eyes pecked out by a raven. She smiled inwardly with a small shred of satisfaction. "The only good thing about you, little sister are the wild roses woven into your hair. Some sort of badge of state, is it, I should imagine? You have a face that is not completely unpleasant, for a savage. The translator said that your name is HAIR LIKE THAT SHINES LIKE THE JAGUAR. You will now forget that name. You are now my little bitch and I will name you MALA ROSA. You have no idea what I am saying, do you? Pvt. Gonzales,I need you to talk to this savage bitch for me."

"Yes sir,Captain. What do you want me to tell her?"

"Inform her that she now belongs to me and that her name is now and forever MALA ROSA. At least as long as I let her live and do for me. Tell her  that the women will do whatever they are asked, at any time of the day they are asked, by whoever asks them. See if she understands." After the translator passed on the orders, the new MALA ROSA glared and nodded her head reluctantly. The Captain saw the acknowledgement and said,"Good. Well done,Private."

"I will beat her tonight before I take her. My father always said that you must make sure that your animal knows who is the master. She will know her master when we get to the other village and make camp."

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