author: Ted Davies
My days, although full of sunshine, seemed like a cloud was hanging over head. I felt uneasy and anxious after my vision at “story rock”. I was haunted by an unsettling presence. It started as I slept but slowly crept into my waking hours. An image of that pale man, tall, thin, and full of rage. His evil consumed him completely. To one’s eyes he was a man in his 50th year, but something told me he was most ancient. As if he had walked this earth for well over a thousand years.
This demon had found me and was coming for the sacred pool. My vision at “story rock” must have connected us somehow, some way. It was only a matter of time before he made his move upon us. Ogima and I were not sure how he would make himself known to us. Or to what extremes he would go to take our sacred waters. All we knew was he was on his way to take what we so dearly protected.
I have to be truthful; my main concern was for Apo-ni. We had just discovered that she was carrying our first child. We had waited patiently for this blessing. Apo-ni told me of the news in her own way. I arrived, from a day of trapping, to our New France camp just outside the fort walls.
She had been working with her younger nieces gathering wild flowers during the warmer part of the day. They would often go to the nearby forest to gather wild flowers, herbs and plants. She would make these amazing cures handed down by her ancestors. Apo-ni was teaching her nieces what she had been taught to continue their medicinal traditions. Both of us, exhausted from the day, sat down to a small meal within our tiny clad bark home.
Our wooden table I had built from a fallen oak we had found on our first walk together in the woods. The small tree had fallen across our path and Apo-ni took it as a sign. She said, “I’ll help you move any obstacles in our life, Gabe. This small tree can be moved with us working together, like any trouble that crosses our path in life. We can manage it together, side by side.” I wanted to remember that moment forever so I chopped the fallen tree into timber and fashioned our dinner table. We had every meal together upon it since that day.
The candlelight softened the natural warm streaks of the dark oak table top. I loved how candlelight would fall on Apo-ni’s face. The soft glow gave an almost angelic quality to her. The fatigue and stress of the day always vanished once those candles were lit.
Apo-ni’s agenda that evening was not known me. She had spent a few hours hanging to dry the gatherings of the day. The wooden hut was fragrant with fresh flowers and herbs. The last thing I expected was her to be expecting. But once we sat down to eat, her mood changed. It didn’t take me long to notice a small hand stitched “papoose”hiding in the shadows behind the door of our hut. I hadn’t seen the ornate buckskin baby carrier when I arrived, due to the light and being so tired. I’m sure she had been working on it for some time.
After the excitement and elation tapered, a soon-to-be father’s shock set in. My questions started to pile up, “When? How long till the baby arrives? How are you feeling?” When the news was clear I nearly knocked our table over while standing to hug Apo-ni. She said she was a few months along and the baby would be here early next spring. We sat smiling and talking the better part of the night as the candles melted away. I believe that night was one of the happiest in my life, knowing how happy we both were. I try to protect her from my concerns of the pale man, but I felt that she already knew me too well.
New France was becoming quite busy in those days. The fort was a destination port for commerce and center of trade. St Anne’s parish was growing, converting many “so called” savages to the ranks of the civil Catholic. Many travelers were arriving by boat on the river’s shore. To keep a look out for the pale man, Ogima and I decided to warn the elders and our fellow tribesmen. The river, at that time, was the main source of entry into New France. We thought that would be his strategy, but, unfortunately, he had already thought of that.
During that time, many Native tribes were still at war. War with the French or with other Native tribes. When a group of Fox or Sauk tribesmen attacked the fort it was to be defended and they were usually killed or sent away injured.
This attack was not the same, this attack had another motive. The attack had a sole purpose of destroying life and stealing what was sacred. This attack was a disguise for the pale demon to make his way into our lives.
Days before the attacks I dreamt that the ancient man was called “Va-ryn”. The attack came as a planned distraction and he cleverly used the Fox tribes as a cloak to infiltrate our land. Arriving by one of the several Native trails that led inland from the north, he positioned his army. Disguised as a Fox tribe encampment he waited for nightfall to unleash his fury.
To most settlers, it would have looked like the Fox tribe was attacking the fort for an almost routine takeover, but we knew differently. Va-ryn was looking for the sacred waters. The attack lasted 2 days, with little to no calm. His army had unnatural strength, they never tired and they were merciless.
By the end of the attack, our tribe was decimated. My beloved, Ap-oni, my world and the mother of my child was murdered by Va-ryn. He tricked me and diverted my attention by setting fires to the outer fort walls. I ran to put the fires out with help from Ogima and several tribesmen. While this was happening, Ogima and I were injured severely when both of us were hit with stray arrows in our backs. Va-ryn and his tribe were vicious, butchering many of the natives and then Ap-oni, in front of us…
My love, with her last bit of strength, took her dagger and stabbed Va-ryn in the leg. It injured him terribly. After the last of the killings an injured Va-ryn and his tribe retreated to the north. His power over his tribesmen was wavering when he was injured. Something was happening and he needed to retreat and regroup He must have had reserves of his sacred waters stored.
It was apparent that we too were dying. Ogima and I struggled but had enough strength to make it to the waters. Both Ogima and I knew we had to use its power to save ourselves and wage our vengeance. The two citadel braves that watched over the pool aided us in this effort.
After healing, Ogima and I buried our loved ones. I chose to bury my Ap-oni by a nearby elm tree. That way I could watch it from afar and think of her. Its strength in its branches and its color in bloom would remind me always of my love. I still visit her there where Elmwood Cemetery is now. The tree still lives within its gates.
We started to make plans for our revenge and we took inventory. We knew that we needed to grieve. We had to protect the pool. We still had the braves that watched over the pool as did Ogima and myself . We had to make this place ours.
The French authority didn’t build outside the fort at that time because of the frequent attacks. But we had a duty and needed a camp. The decision was made to use the sacred land as our base. Instead of diverting people’s attention away from it, we would put it around us so we could protect it 24/7. We knew how vital it was to keep it safe and this was the only way we could figure to do it.
I learned many years later, the Vatican knew about the legend of the sacred pools and as is their custom, they set out to find, control or eliminate it. The king of France was told by the pope to send a settlement with Jesuits to “the Straits” to set up fur trades. This would hide the real reason for their presence, while converting the savages and confiscating the sacred secret.
This is how the establishment of Detroit was started. The entire region was taken over to find and control this miracle. The natives, knowing that the white men knew something, hid the secret. They pretended to know nothing, until I had my visions. That’s when everything changed: my life, their lives and the world I once knew. But that was long ago. The world today is much different, except for man’s greed. That never changes unless the man does. Human nature can be a beautifully horrific creature.
Throughout the years, Ogima has helped me. After all the dust settled, loved ones were mourned and life began again. He helped me to build a semblance of a life: a life of purpose, devoting our energies to helping all beings that needed our guidance. I have felt as though I were a pawn in a game from early on. I fight with that feeling, wondering why me? Why us, having this burden of judge and aegis.
The opportunities for Ogima and me to put the pool to a good use have been many. Over the years, healing sick farm animals or saving a crop came up quite often.
The onset of small pox changed all that. The fort was consumed with this illness. It was hardest for me to watch the sick children. Knowing I could save all of them but allowing nature to take its course was heartbreaking. Ogima felt the same even if he didn’t show it. I finally had enough. I decided to experiment with the sacred waters. This would allow for some healing and to see how people would handle this new gift of health…
The plan was cast and I told Ogima of my idea. He nodded and agreed so we set off to St Anne’s Church. It was more of a chapel back then. They had built and taken the structure down because of burning arrows of the Fox tribes. In any case, the structure they used as the church was within the fort walls and the rough cut log building was unlocked. I came up with the idea to take a small amount of sacred water and place a few drops in the holy water and baptismal founts to see what would occur. My hunch was it should cure any small pox or illness anyone had if they came in contact with the water. Many had already died from the smallpox outbreak; it had to be done.
A few days after Sunday mass, my hunch proved correct. Babies that were at death’s door were healthy again. The entire physical and emotional tone of the people had changed. Elation and praise to the Almighty, it was a miracle! And yes it was a miracle.
I watched carefully many people though. I witnessed good people using their new strength helping others and I also witnessed very shallow people going back to old habits. A male parishioner that had looked very ill, who I knew went to brothels in the area, became healthy again. Within a few days of his recovery was back in the brothels and his old ways. He later became sick again, probably due to syphilis. This is what I meant by being a judge, what was I expecting? Man is imperfect, I knew that and no matter how much of the sacred pool you consume you are still going to be flawed. I judged him on morality but I didn’t make him go back to his old ways. That was what I had to tell myself and no I didn’t help him to recover again…
In fact many men, not just one, did what he did, whether it was alcohol, brothels, gambling or whatever, that was their decision. Women were not far from the men when it came to habits. They weren’t in church every week but some recovered miraculously none the less, going back to their ways once healed.
It was the hardest thing for me to witness this. I wanted to believe people were basically good, which they are, but we all have hang ups. Especially me, I have a conscience which I battle with daily. I have for centuries and I think that is more of a burden than being an aegis of the sacred waters.
I have noticed as the years go past my perception of time varied, like not knowing what day of the week it is. Once you have lived several life times, the view of hours, days, etc. becomes different. I witnessed so much in the past 100 years, from the British takeover of the fort to the immigration of hundreds of thousands of people to Detroit.
Ogima and I decided to invest in property to secure our location and to build a financial base for us to aid in our duty.
All of the settlers that I once knew here are long dead. I am in my 83rd year, not looking more than 25 years of age. The pool makes me ageless. We have had to be careful not to give ourselves away.
Ogima seems to be hiding his age well. We have kept to ourselves these many years, only meeting people as needed. Va-ryn has not been back since that night in 1712. I am connected with him in some way. I know he is still alive somewhere, waiting for his opportunity.
We have been successful in keeping our location uninteresting to the locals. We are mere hermits among the trees. I wish Ap-oni could have grown old with me. What am I saying? I’m not a year older since she died, I long to see her. Ogima has been a comfort to talk to about the old days. We both lost immeasurably that night. Ap-oni fills my dreams at night; she is always holding my hand guiding me. I keep thinking that Va-ryn will pay, I know he will be back; it’s been so long.
These past decades have been exhausting, constantly looking over my shoulder, keeping hidden, every part of my life. The years blend as time goes on; a continual waiting game.
Chief Pontiac tried to take the fort unsuccessfully and Parent’s Creek ran blood red. The people gossiping called it “Bloody Run Creek.”
I know Ogima wanted to be part of the revolt but he kept his composure and his duty. Pontiac failed and signed a treaty to put the attacks to rest.
It all seemed ridiculous to me. No point to it. The powers or authorities weren’t interested in anything but finding the pools. Of course, it was right under their feet.
Luckily, as times continued, people passed away or left. As such, legends become forgotten. Or so I thought.