An Excerpt From My Latest Novel, TACONITE
His father had left him a deed to the the homestead and the surrounding 5,000 acres of wooded land in Minnesota which would be leased and the proceeds held at a bank in Duluth, the estate in New Orleans and a substantial amount of gold coins, which along with silver were the most common currency of the time. He packed the hefty sack of gold and other odds and ends into a travel pack, and rode two days to St. Cloud where he deposited the majority of his inheritance, and caught a boat to St.louis, the Gateway to the West.
It was an era that required boys to be men, and Lucient was man-strong from years of cutting wood and trapping and hunting along side his father. He was a crack shot with a rifle or bow, and well educated in history, literature, and mathematics by his mother, who was from aristocratic stock back in Scotland before coming to America.
In the years that followed, he punched cows in the Wyoming territory, mined silver in Colorado, hauled freight along the Overland Trail, and rode shotgun on Wells Fargo stages until he landed in New Orleans working as a longshoreman on the Toulouse St. wharf. It was there that he learned to fight with skill. He’d been in more than a few scraps in the rough and tumble saloons of the west, but it was while working on the Mississippi that he befriended a sailor, Antoine Gasparilla, from the Barbary Coast who took a liking to him and trained him to fight with skills learned from everywhere from Ireland and Africa, to the Far East. He also learned how to handle knives and could pin a Monarch butterfly to a tree at 20 yards. When it was time for Gasparilla to ship out, he told Lucient, “Never trust anyone, Robinuex. You never know who your enemies may be. Why, there might even come a day when you and I will have to face off!”