Scalp Bounty: Ravaging Myths Book 2 begins in the Apache Nation with the mysterious death of an Apache soldier. The death rocks the Intertribal Council and the Apache Tribe Council representative, General Andrea Cochise of the Apache Nation military is determined to track the killer down.
The Southwestern wind blew dust devils across the road leading to the ancient native burial grounds. Swirling and whipping small particles into a frenzy, the devils did little more than cloud the otherwise unpolluted air. In mindless desperation and near silence, the sand drifted slowly across the mutilated corpse seemingly trying to bury what had been left in disgrace at the ground's edge. Sand-specked, dried blood covered the body's hairless skull, bringing further dishonor to the memory of the once proud Apache warrior. Her scalp had been viciously stripped from its bony foundation leaving clear grooves deep into the normal architecture. Like so many other killers in the distant past, the executioner had left with a trophy, bloody human flesh that was savage proof of her death. Savagery taught and encouraged by the early invaders from Europe, men who had briefly tried and failed to eradicate the natives before accepting the way of the land or leaving altogether. Savagery not practiced by the Apache, then or now.
Millennia after crossing the Bering land bridge, the Apache ancestors were driven into the North American southwest eight hundred to one thousand years ago by cataclysmic volcanic eruptions in the far north. These same major disruptions in the Pacific Rim's Ring of Fire were serious enough to cause a mass of congruent native migration to many other areas in the Americas in that distant past just as they had done for tens of thousands of years before that. The result was a heavy scatter of people with extremely different cultures to all reaches of the northern and southern continents, and what eventually would be thousands of distinct nations or tribes across the centuries.
When the Apache finally reached the southwest, many other people had already been calling it home for thousands of years, and some of them, such as the Clovis people and the ancient Anasazi had long ago come and gone from the world. The early Apache first existed as nomadic family units, appearing considerably more disorganized than most of the other people in this new land. They recognized no tribal entity, so to speak, and even within in bands there were no consistently recognized leaders. The small groups all functioned independently and provided for themselves incessantly by whatever means were necessary. They were hard-core survivors who traveled light and lived on anything available to them in their environment. Like most hunter and gatherer cultures, in good times this consisted of large game such as the deer and buffalo readily available in the region at the time. The nomads followed the animals as they moved between feeding grounds, taking what they could on foot. During the worst of times, they were able to survive by supplementing their diet with whatever roots, berries, nuts and seeds they could gather as they desperately followed the game. When their very existence was at stake, they often found it necessary to take from their stationary and agrarian neighbors from other tribes. Stealth and peaceful, bloodless retreats were valued over bloodshed, and other's lives were not taken unless the source chose to seriously resist. Further raids were only undertaken when the need was again urgent. Survival was the driving force, not uncontrolled hostility.
A half-buried machinegun and nearby bullet- riddled military all terrain vehicle brought the General's attention back to the twenty-first century. She stood over the rapidly desiccating and mutilated Apache soldier's body and tried to identify the remains from her memories of command, not for the Nation's records or the dead soldier's family, but because she felt compelled to do so.
Nation, Council, and world politics aside, there would be retaliation for this offense, both swift and brutal. The Apache never ignored the transgressions frequently endured or even tolerated by others. In terms of the Apache code of honor, the soldier's name was ultimately meaningless. The Apache Nation's people viewed themselves as one in the world, and had since the integration of the Europeans centuries before. The Nation's people being its most valuable resource, Nation insults including the loss of a single Apache life were always avenged in kind.
Following the slow and multistage suppression of the European invasion, the Nation easily evolved with the times, continuing to absorb immigrants and their cultures with the same pride that maintained their own. After all, the Apache were and always had been flexible, utilizing superior ways whenever they presented themselves and still maintaining their own central culture. Over the centuries, this led to major advances in the abilities and holdings of the Apache Nation as well as multiple continued firm alliances with other tribal Nations of the Americas. In due course, other nations of the world also blended in to this massive and growing alliance.
The exponential growth of the Nation started with the suppression of the Spanish in the southwest and the resultant acquisition of their superior weapons and more importantly, their horses. With this greatly enhance mobility the Apache followed the ancient native trade routes that spanned the Americas, absorbing others over time that took to the Apache's nomadic ways. With hit and run guerilla tactics, the Apache gradually aided other tribes in the multi-front battle to keep their lands as they swept to the east and then north. The numbers of the Apache tribe grew with every conquest as they took prisoners instead of lives whenever they could and accepted anyone interested in a mobile and military way of life.
Camps of soldiers left strategically behind in their massive sweeps grew over time and eventually became bases.
The Apache Nation now provided unparalleled protection services for its own people and its allies, a commodity invaluable in the world. In this, the Nation was never flexible. Attacks from the outside were always met in kind and without the slightest regard for diplomacy. The world knew the Apache Nation's stance regarding it people and ignorance was never accepted as an excuse. Had the Apache been ruthlessly imperialistic like the early Europeans they suppressed, they would have controlled the world long ago.