24 / CHRONICLESnjoined them.n”Aye!” someone shouted and thousands threw their capsnin the air, thundering, “Hurrah!” after the Serdar reviewednthem.nWith his scimitar, the Serdar pointed across the river andnthe men cheered and stomped towards the fords. Soon, theirnred vests choked the river, churned by shot and rifle fire.nThe Montenegrins scrambled up the other bank and raisedna cloud of dust over the Turkish redoubts.n* * *nAs the Highlanders advanced through Moslem villages,nthe boys eyed them with hatred, while veiled women hid inntheir houses.n”No looting,” the Brigadier said.n* * *nIn a village near Pec, at the dusk of a long, dusty day, ancompany of Vasojevici were fired upon and six soldiersnkilled.nThe Vasojevici made a search of the houses and flushednout two score disheveled Albanians.nWithout much ado the Vasojevici Brigadier ordered themnshot.n* * *n”The mace!” the Brigadier shouted, and volleys cut thenAlbanians down.nThe cries of their kin, huddled behind a hill, sounded tonVukota like Montenegrin grieving. He could see manyntribesmen pale, yet no one broke ranks.nThe Brigadier then came upon the crowds of noncombatantsnand had them driven into Small River. The womennheld their babies high but the Brigadier ordered themndipped into the water. Steam rose above the river, and wispsnof snow came with the norther.n”Father,” Mace roared to the priest, “I want you tonbaptize the heathen!”nThe priest stood on the whitening bank, snow collectingnon his hair and beard, and held his cross high. “In the Namenof the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I welcome younall into the fold of the Holy Orthodox Church! Amen!”n”Amen!” cried the Montenegrins, Vukota among them.nThe soldiers wept and shivered just like the Shqipetars innthe Sitnica.n* * *n”Out!” bellowed the Mace and the women ran shriekingnout of the shallows and over the hill, where their dead lay.nThe wind was turning into a blizzard; barefoot womennululated and fell over their executed husbands, fathers, sons,nand brothers.n”Move!” ordered the Mace, and the Montenegrinsnmarched.n^ * *nThey took Djakovica by storm and met with the Serbians.nThe soldiers milled about the town and thronged the cafes.nVukota heard a Rovcanin sing.nAll morning long,nSmall River ran red and muddy.nFast noon.nIt carried men and horses!nnn”Glory, glory to Serbdom!” shouted the soldiers in thencafe. They drank their brandy in strong, anxious gulps andnbegan breaking the pitiable furniture, roaring with fury.n* ?{: *nThe gray columns of Serbians marched off to a militarynband, their ranks swinging in heavy step.n”Oh Serbia!” sang a voice, above the creaking of leathernand the clinking of canteens and scabbards.nThe Serbians sang, until their thick battalions disappearednin the dusk.n* * *nThe one-time Turkish barracks stank of urine, excrement,ncadaver, and rats. But, the planks were scoured withnboiling water and lye, the rats poisoned, the walls whitewashednwith lime, and the floor smeared with carbolineum.nFirst students came by Christmas, pallid with hunger.n”Good luck,” said the Brigadier to Vukota. “You’ll neednit, upon this accursed Plain.”n* * *n”Oh Vukota,” sang the Montenegrins, “may the sunnshine upon your house! Cheers to the newlyweds!”n”Go forth,” said the priest, “and repopulate this land!”nVukota and his bride blushed and laughed, while thenguests pulled their Gassers out of their sashes, and firednthem in the air.n”Glory!” they shouted. They laughed and sang while thenstudents settled down to suckling pig and cornbread.n* * *nRain fell upon the town, miring the hovels and the fewnbuildings the Turks had left behind. Cold wind howled fromnthe mountains as Vukota and Catherine Vlahovic sat behindnthe windows of their house, watching the main street.nThen the sun came: fissures spread like lesions throughnthe rich, dark earth outside Djakovica. A pall of dust hungnover the town, glinting with straw and lint.n”Salaam, Schoolmaster, Sir!” said the Albanians tonVukota in the market.n* * *nWhen the Serbians came again in 1915, their columnsnwere endless and each man was gray, beyond the color of hisnuniform. Lines of refugees and beasts spread across thenplains, trudging through muck. The Shqipetars disappeared,nas Djakovica heaved.n”We must take to the road ourselves,” said the TownnCommandant to Vukota.n* * *nMore refugees joined the retreat at Pec and the Montenegrinsnrode through the Rugovo Gorge, their rifles atnready. High above them, the jagged, gray ridges lay bare; nonhawks, eagles, or osprey specked the sky.nSlate-like, Sitnica rolled thick and silent; loose stonenplunked into its pools.nThey came out of the Gorge into a blizzard, their horsesnslipping in the fresh snow.nAt Mojkovac, the Serdar shouted to the mustered men,n”King Nicholas has surrendered! Whoever wants to, can gonhome!”n