Every Man a King by Clayton Emery | Script Revolution

Every Man a King

1815, New Orleans... A British-American soldier, torn by loyalty to both sides, is hurled into the bizarre and bloody Battle of New Orleans -- and ends up in a surprising place.



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My story "Every Man a King" appearing in "Mammoth Book of Sword and Honor" and true events.

Louisiana, 1815. Slogging through a swamp, elite British 95th Rifles (same as SHARPE’S RIFLES) dodge Choctaw Indians and alligators, then shoot up American citizens and soldiers. But the Brits can’t invade New Orleans past an immense earthworks guarded by cannons and Americans. To attack would be suicide... Our heroes are three Riflemen: Walker, Jeffers, and Schott . Ironically, their parents were American Loyalists expelled to Canada. Enlisting in the British Army, they fought Napoleon in Europe, and now return “home” to fight Americans... Pushing 50, facing forced retirement, they argue about where to settle. Indian? Caribbean? Europe? Anywhere but America, where they’re hated. Yet they learn from prisoners - a Cajun pirate, a citizen, a Tennessean, a Black freeman – that "In America, every man is a king.".. Scouting alone, Walker meets a farm widow. She's friendly - thinking he's American. They fish, walk. Walker talks about his boyhood in Pennsylvania: snow and apple blossoms. She invites him back for supper... Upriver on a raid, the Rifles get lost in the swamp and almost scalped. They find a deserted mansion and congenial caretaker. "This war ain't nothing” and the West beckons. But no... Walker ponders the widow, but his friends warn, What happens when she learns he’s British?.. Cannonballs crash camp in a surprise night raid lit by rockets. Brits and Americans clash in the dark, a hopeless muddle. Walker sinks in exhaustion. "I'm too old for soldiering.".. By night Walker visits the widow's farm – and is ambushed and beaten by her kinsmen! She learned the truth, despises the “traitor and liar”, orders him killed. His friends rush in, shoot free, and the widow is accidentally killed. Walker's soured forever on America... British commanders, desperate idiots, decide to attack the earthworks, marching head-on across a mud flat. The Battle of New Orleans is a one-sided slaughter - and the oddest battle ever. In fog, Scottish Highlanders battle American Scots-Irish. Black Redcoats battle Black slaves and freemen. Indians battle Indians. Along with soldiers, frontiersmen, draftees, pirates, and sailors... Charging, screaming, shooting, bayoneting, the 95th Rifles gain a strong point but are overrun. Walker sees his company wiped out, his friends cut down. His turn, and he’s stabbed and slammed, dead... Walker awakes in a bed in New Orleans. Wounded, sick with Yellow Fever, he lost a leg and was mustered out of the British Army, dumped. Ironically, the battle was unnecessary, because Britain and the US had already signed a peace treaty. More irony: left behind, HE is once again an American. Walker recuperates, cared for by kindly Americans. And recalls, "In America, every man is a king." He mounts his crutches and slowly stumps for Pennsylvania.

Submitted: December 10, 2018
Last Updated: December 10, 2018

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The Writer: Clayton Emery

Professional writer and technical writer for 30 years. Wrote 20+ Dungeons & Dragons novels, Robin Hood retelling, and numerous mystery shorts that appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Martin Greenberg anthologiies, Mammoth collections, and elsewhere. Technical writer for software, industry, nuclear, and federal government including the FAA and DHS. One screenwriting credit, "The Republic", filmed with Sean Young and Marc Singer, but never finished. See my Wikipedia, Amazon, or IMDB pages. Go to bio

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