He taught them about war.
Sometime in the late fifteen hundreds, my father accepted the coin of the Spanish monarchy and traveled with a group of mercenaries to the New World. Where he fought did not matter to him, although in his journal from the year 1592, he does confess some curiosity as to what the New World might be like.
He was not impressed.
The men he served alongside were soldiers, like himself, and those he fought were soldiers of another kind. Both my father’s allies and his enemies were beneath him, and they knew far less about killing than they thought they did.
He taught them.
By this time, my father was using the name Ezekiel Blood (and I admit I do not know what his true name might have been, though I have been told that Blood is merely an anglicization of the Danish surname ‘Blod’).
My father records a night when a group of natives caught several of his party out where they should not have been.
The screams of the men rang out through the jungle, the men used as bait.
My father and the others knew it for what it was, and they went into the darkness.
In the jungle, my father could sense the presence of the natives as they kept pace with the mercenaries. The screams of the men were transformed into shrieks, cries for mercy being interjected during pauses that were all-too-short.
When my father and the others entered an open clearing where the captured mercenaries were being tortured, the natives attacked.
The natives, men and women, were armed and skilled in war.
Or so they thought.
My father struck one man down with the back of his hand, wrenched the native’s warclub free, and waded into the fight.
He was merciless, for he was paid to be so.
‘I showed them how to die.’
It is a simple line written near the end of the journal entry for that day, and it speaks volumes about my father.
There is only one more line in the entry, and it too is simple and to the point.
‘Three and Sixty Dead,’ my father noted. ‘My companions fear me.’
I suspect he was smiling when he wrote it down.