Poster: Mercy LaCorte
Post # 21
Mercy couldn't understand a thing the old woman was saying but she could
see the twins growing angry as well as other men of the Bear Clan. She
glanced at Clark and Jacob then looked at the War Chief of the Horse. He
shook his head and spoke low to the three PI's. "She is of the Clan
of the Snake. It seems the tales were true and there is bad blood
between them due to something the young braves were involved in."
Her attention went back to the old woman, once again wondering what she
had said. It couldn't be good! She
had to fight an urge to stick her tongue
at her when the old woman glared their way.
Yas frowned and took one step forward, his face dark with anger.
"What we did should not have turned into a blood bath. We have
counted coup for years between us. What we are has nothing to do with
the anger of the spirits." Why did these white men have to come
around now, bringing word of a man they had no wish to know? He fell
into silence again, glowering when Dekanawida glared at him for speaking
Jacob met Mercy's look as he mumbled under his breath. "Just great,
like father like sons." But there was a gleam in his eyes for he
didn't know a McDonough that couldn't get out of a scrape he was in.
Matoskah only gave a nod as his brother spoke up this time as obviously
they were his feelings and for now he would bide his tongue.
Adsila glowered at the two braves but even more she didn't like these
white men here. They were no more than dirty mongrel dogs and the twins
had their blood. She had her say on the matter but they knew well her
feelings. "I await the decision according to the old ways."
She wanted their deaths but she would have to accept what the Shaman and
medicine woman here determined.
Clark's circuit of survey brought him back to Mercy and Jay, just in
time to hear their guide's comment as well as Jacob's. "Best way to
deal with boys in trouble is send them away for a while." He
muttered under his breath, knowing how he had been handled as a
youngster. He took a lean up against an obliging tree and fell silent,
curious and wary of the upcoming events.
Patwin stepped just behind the brothers, placing a hand on Yas' back to
silence and steady him. The time for words had come and gone. The time
for action had arrived and had been completed. Now, it was the time for
silence and patience. All would come too quickly from this point on.
They would await the decision of their wise leaders. The vengeful spirit
and spiteful words of the Snake meant nothing to Patwin or to those he
When the silence fell heavy on the gathered ones, Milap and Kirima could
be seen returning. The Elder leaned heavily on the Shaman, weary with
the weight of what she had seen. Milap's expression was unreadable but
for those that knew him well, there was something different in his walk.
As they neared, he looked at the two he had called sons and their blood
brother then looked toward the others, chin lifting stubbornly. He would
not allow strangers to see his sorrow. Kirima squinted at the whites,
then at the warriors of the Horse. "We thank you for your aid, our
Brothers. We know there is anger in the Clan of the Snake." She
spoke in their native tongue while the War Chief of the Horse translated
for the three. "All will be addressed. We assemble in the Council
Tent." Without another word, she made her way to the tent, still
leaning heavily on Milap.
Mercy bit her lip when Jacob spoke, trying not to smile. The gravity of
the situation was far to serious. With a look to her companions, she
followed after the leaders of the Horse.
Yas placed his hand briefly on Patwin's then watched as the two Elders
returned. He felt as if he had swallowed a ball of mud, his stomach
feeling the effects of his nervousness and anger. Waiting for the
Elders, the Clan leaders, and the whites to move to the tent, he then
He went where he was suppose to and this was under the guide of the
Horse Chief. They were with them as guests even if some of the looks
given them were far less than approving. Some didn't seem to really care
but that evil eye of the Snake charmer twisted medicine woman was enough
to have him take a step back. Who knew what was in her bag of tricks.
They might all be turned into toads.
Mat's focus stayed steadfast on their own Shaman and medicine woman.
Here were his people, his heart, what was to come would come from them
after the council meeting determination. A silent look was given Patwin
in appreciation of his support, now they had to wait. That was the devil
to pay more than anything, the sentencing yet to come. His breathing was
even but shallow. He stood proud no matter.
Adsila stayed with her warriors as they escorted her to the tent, here
they were left outside as the Chiefs, shaman, two medicine women met
with the others for the verdict.
Clark was like a shadow. A spirit in the darkness. A ghost of ages gone.
A shape-shifter, one moment a man, the next...a mere mist. That was
until the first step when he pushed up from his lean. From that he
stumbled twice on uplifted roots hidden from his view, whapped his head
on a low hanging limb, bumped into Mercy's backside and back stepped
from that into the brave walking close behind him. He hissed a
sorry which the man didn't seem to understand and with a cringe,
quickened his pace to catch back up to his companions.
Patwin's trek from there to here continued more in Clark's original
course. Light of foot though heavy of heart, his steps nearly floated
him over the earth which was his home. He dipped his head to the Snake's
wise woman in passing, regardless of her station, it was but by the
grace of the spirit gods that she was of the Snake and he the Bear. But
he was Bear. And that was the only respect he paid her for the loss of
her tribal family as he followed his own to their intended fates. He
stepped to the side of the entrance once he had joined them within only
a moment's hesitation of the sureness he exhibited as he breathed in
Kirima took her place and sat heavily on the piles of furs. She was the
only one who would sit, save for Adsila who was allowed for her age.
"We spoke to the Spirits for many long hours and they, in their
wisdom, gave us the course that must be followed." She paused
briefly. "Both Milap and I saw the same. There will be no argument,
no discussion. The Spirits have spoken and we will obey. Yaskitchi,
Matoskah, Patwin. Come and stand before me." She stood again,
using her staff to help her as she waited.
Mercy had nearly yelped when Clark bumped into her but managed to keep
from doing so. She adjusted her hat before following Jacob inside and
now she watched with great interest how judgement would be passed on the
three young men.
Yas lifted his chin as he moved around the council fire and stood before
Kirima. He kept his eyes on her, not even glancing at his father.
Whatever happened, Yas would accept it without protest just as he knew
his twin and brother would do.
Jacob stayed close to Mercy and Clark as they headed for the tent to
converge. Clark would have felt a strong hand at his elbow more than
once as he stumbled until they were all securely within. He waited in
silence, any decisions made would be to what transpired.
Adsila sat for it was hard for her to stand unless supported and in this
she had a right few others had so took advantage of it. It made her
important as she waited. At this point she ignored the braves in
question as focus was fully on Kirima and Milap.
Mat move silently by brother and blood brother. Whatever their fate they
would see it together as they had through coup and battles. He came
before Milap and Kirima and here his focus remained until the verdict
would be passed upon them.
Kirima studied the three boys a long moment before she began to speak.
"This is what the Bear has decreed. Your deaths will serve no
purpose, yet punishment must be made. Times are dangerous and changing
and we must learn and adapt or perish. What you did was wrong, and yet,
it had not started out to be so. Therefore, you must learn both sides of
yourselves. You are of the People, but you are also of the White Man.
You must go from our land, travel across the Great Water, and learn of
the other half of your blood. In doing this, you will find your way. It
may not lead back to the People but that is hidden in the mists of the
future. Patwin. You will accompany them and learn as well. The White Man
will be a force to be reckoned with and only by knowing them will we
survive. Again. It was not shown to us what would happen, if you would
return. But this is what was decreed. Is that satisfactory, Adsila of
the Snake? They are as exiled." She looked back at the boys.
"You must not return for three winters, if you are to return at
Adsila may have wanted blood for blood but she would not go against the
Spirits. They would be gone for three winters, three winters they would
be dead. She was appeased enough as she stood. "As the Spirits see
fit." She didn't look at the braves, they were dead in her eyes as
her two warriors escorted her out to head back to their clan. Her time
was done here.
Patwin, though he was braced for the outcome, felt his hand seek behind
him for the solid surface of the tent's covering. His knees, all of a
sudden felt weak. His legs, for an instant, did not feel as if they
could support him. To be exiled. And not only from the land of his
people, but to lands unknown beyond the Great Water into the lands of
the White Man. He would do as commanded by the spirits but for three
winters, if ever, he would not be returning. All that he knew. All that
he was. Was here. Although his birth family had all gone on to the
Spirit World, Kaliska was here...and without Delsey. He forced himself
to put her from his mind. To put all those he would be leaving...from
his mind. To put what he would be heading into...from his mind. A moment
of numbing uncertainty, something he had rarely, if ever, felt before.
Kirima watched as Adsila left then looked at the three braves again.
"It is with sorrow that I see you go. I have been told by the Bear
that I will not see you again in this life. Remember who you are and
where you come from. No one can take your roots away from you. Go.
Prepare for your journey, say your farewells." She looked at the
three PI's and spoke in their tongue. "They will return with you to
the land of their father. So it is decreed. " She moved close to
each brave after speaking, giving them her blessing before turning and
walking out of the tent. She did pause though to look at Jacob, Mercy
and Clark. "You will stay the night and travel come dawn." An
invitation was given to the Horse warriors but they left the three with
the Bear and returned to their home. No one would defy the spirits
though the young braves of the Snake might be tempted to try an ambush.
Mercy watched this all while the War Chief of the Horse translated. Now
that the argument was more or less over, she let out a soft sigh of
relief. It looked as if Xan was gaining three boys instead of two. Now
wouldn't that be a surprise?
Yas felt his heart rise into his throat and it took all he could do to
not protest. They had no choice now but to leave, to meet the man who
was their father. He softened when Kirima approached and whispered her
farewells. Squaring his shoulders, he looked forward, waiting until all
left the tent before making his exit. All except his twin and his blood
Jacob felt bad for the three of them but knew in his heart they had no
idea. In time they would find out their father's love and could only
hope they were open to it. They would stay the night in the tent
allotted the three and at dawn set out with the braves back to
Port Royal. The whole ordeal was taking its toll and he felt it as he
headed out. Sleep would not elude him tonight.
Mat felt like he couldn't breathe. A stone statue standing there and his
heart as cold presently. It was only Kirima's approached that penetrated
the exterior to touch his heart. "We have died and not in the glory
of a warrior's death." He sucked in a breath as the only comforting
thought he clung to slipped passed his lips. "The Great Spirit has
other plans for us and this I must trust. My heart goes with you Kirima.
Father." Looking to Milap who'd been the only father he knew. He
waited with his brother until all the others left but had wanted to
leave early. "We cannot give up hope if this is destined by the
They would be staying the night? Excellent! Clark followed the others
out of the tent, hurrying after one brave with an "Excuse me,
excuse me, Sir...a moment if you would? About the construction of these
dwellings..." Clark left his traveling partners behind to chase
after the fellow whether he could be understood or not. There was much
here to learn, too much, but he meant to get as much in as he could.
Patwin, even as the Wise Mother passed on her words of farewell to him,
kept his head bowed. When all had cleared the tent but the three of
them, his knees buckled and he dropped to the earthen floor in a kneel,
his hands resting on his thighs, his chin against his chest.
"I am, as ever, at your side, Brothers, but a large part of me dies
this night, on these grounds. My flesh is of this soil, my blood of
these waters. The roots that the Wise Mother speaks of will dangle and
thirst until they sink deeply, once again, within this land." He
looked up to them then, blew out a breath he had sucked deeply in and
pushed up to stand slowly. "I will prepare to travel with
you...come the call of the mourning dove."
The news moved through the camp quickly and some began mourning the loss
of the three, though they were being sent away. Milap would speak to the
twins before long but he needed time to take it all in.
Mercy stepped outside and took a deep breath of air. She was sorry it
had happened this way, but time had a way of healing. While Clark chased
after another, a woman of the tribe came to Mercy and Jacob to guide
them to the tent where they would sleep.
Yas went over to Patwin and placed his hand on his brother's shoulder.
"We have known no other life, no other home. Like you, I will wait
for the day we can return, but until then, though I am sorry you must
leave with us, I'm also glad. We will speak to Father and the others and
tell them our fears for Kuwan and Kaliska. Now, we must face our people
and say our farewells." He didn't have to say that he felt as if
his heart had been torn from his chest. They knew.
A glance over his shoulder as he watched Clark move off after the man
and shook his head. "I'm sure whatever tent he ends up in they'll
let him sleep there if he doesn't find this one." Unless he got
lucky and the woman sought him out and brought him back where he was
suppose to be. He would sleep in his clothes this night, something he
was not totally unuse to.
Mat joined Yas with Patwin. "We can be of service in learning the
white man's way and come back with the information at the end of three
winters. They grow in numbers and as we are in example, mix with our
people As more come, more will mix. We must find a way to live side by
side and not lose sight of our ways and the old ways as the Snake braves
Who knew where Clark would find himself by morning. Would he find the
tent assigned to them? Or another tent? Who would he end up sleeping
with? Or no tent at all? Would he even sleep? This night, only one thing
was certain. The sun would rise in the morning. And come morning, more sureties
- they would be on their way back to Heathfield. Another case ...