The Last Shaman

                                                     By 

                                                  Arthur 

 
CHAPTER 3


BOOK 2


It was evening before Ravenhawk saw Joseph again when everyone else was
sitting down to eat; Joseph sat next to Ravenhawk and asked.

"I would like my Brother to stand for me tomorrow when the gift is
presented to the Elder of the one I would take to my home; will you stand
for me Brother?"

"Yes I will stand for you; who is the Elder you wish to get permission
from?"

"The one called John."

"So you seek his Brother?"

Joseph blushed; something Ravenhawk would have thought impossible for an
Apache to do.

"Yes; he was chosen by Creator for me but, I must first have permission
from his Elder; as you know; it would not be proper for me to take him like
a prisoner of battle."

"So tomorrow you will offer which of your gifts to John?"

"Why, the stallion of course; I have a blanket of thick furs and a long,
soft, hide shirt; there is also the new cabin for the one I have chosen; do
you think that is enough to gain my berdach's hand?"

"I will talk for you; I am sure it will be well received by all parties;
they are fine gifts."

Joseph nodded in agreement; he never doubted that his Brother would see
that his chosen one would soon be by his side; Joseph sat back and let his
mind wander to the next few days; it was going to be an exciting time for
both young men; although as yet, Samuel had little idea of what was in
store for him.

The next morning, Ravenhawk met Joseph outside the Apache's Hogan; over
Ravenhawk's shoulder was a thick blanket; Joseph was leading the Palomino
stallion with one hand and in the other he held a thick fur blanket rolled
up with a well tanned deer skin shirt on top.

"It is time Brother." Joseph said.

Both teens were calm but there was an undertone of tension in the cool
morning air; for Joseph this was a very important day; the two teens moved
off for the half hour walk to the cabin of the three farmers; the stallion
also seemed to sense something was up but followed along without trouble.

As the two walked through the trees towards the new cabin; the forest
around them seemed to come alive with bird sounds; there was even the
scurrying sound of small animals deeper in the underbrush; there was little
to be said between the two teens as they walked.

Finally the two came out of the trees close to the cabin; when they were
within ten feet of the cabin; the door opened and all three young men
stepped out onto the stoop.

Joseph stopped and then handed the rope halter of the stallion to
Ravenhawk; he continued to hold the other gifts; it was Ravenhawk's job to
present his gift and the reason for it to John on his behalf. Had this been
in the time before the virus; either his older Brother or his Father would
have been the one to do gift giving and asking.

John, James and Collin all watched as Ravenhawk walked up and stopped just
below the stoop; there Ravenhawk bent down and laid the multi coloured
blanket on the ground; still holding the halter of the stallion; Ravenhawk
lowered himself to sit cross legged on one side of the blanket; with his
hand, he signalled for John and the others to join him.

The three boys walked down the steps; as yet not a word had been exchanged;
for the three young men of the cabin, this was puzzling but Ravenhawk must
have had a reason; they followed his signalled request.

Once they were seated opposite Ravenhawk; he began to speak directly to
John in a very formal tone.

"I greet the Elder of Samuel and would tell you of the reason we have
come. I am here to represent my Brother; he has tasked me with asking the
Elder for Samuel to be his Berdach. As a sign of his good intentions and
his respect for the Elder; he would offer the gift of this fine
stallion. If this was to meet with your approval, he would also like to
offer three gifts to be given by your hand to Samuel as a sign he would be
looked upon as a viable suitor."

Ravenhawk stopped talking and waited for John to reply; John, not realizing
he was now expected to answer, sat with an awed look on his face; this was
all very new to him and he found himself lost for words; Ravenhawk sat
patiently waiting for an answer; this type of decision was not made in a
hurry or without consideration.

In the background; Joseph stood nervously; although he would never have
admitted to it; the long pause while he waited for John the Elder to reply
was working on his nerves a little.

John finally understood he was meant to answer for Samuel; it was a
difficult position to be put in, but it obviously meant a great deal to the
two teens in front of him. John tried to think back to anything that Samuel
may have said about Joseph; at last he understood; Samuel had never said
anything about the Apache but, John had seen plenty of looks; now it all
began to make sense.

John looked into Ravenhawk's waiting face; the young teen was totally
impassive as John tried to work out how to answer correctly; finally he
just thought he would say what was on his mind; it would probably lead to a
hissy fit from Samuel, but unless John took the chance; his little Brother
might well be left single and stuck in the kitchen forever.

John looked at the fine Palomino stallion; only that morning the three had
been talking about how they would have to find a good stallion to breed up
a new horse herd; here was the perfect animal.

"Ravenhawk; I would be glad to accept this great gift; he is a very fine
horse and makes a very fine gift to please the eye of any man. I would
welcome Joseph into my home as the warrior that protects my little
Brother."

"Do your witnesses agree to those terms, Elder John?"

John looked to each side at his two friends; they both nodded and John
turned back to Ravenhawk.

"They would also welcome him."

Ravenhawk turned his head and nodded in Joseph's direction; the young teen
walked over and; after laying the fur blanket and finely tanned deer skin
shirt on the blanket in front of Ravenhawk; he took the halter from
Ravenhawk and reached across to hand it to John; Joseph then sat down
beside Ravenhawk; he had not said a word; it was not his place to speak.

After the stallion was handed over; Joseph then reached up and took one of
the three strands of beads from his neck; they were medium sized amber
beads with smaller black ones interspersed at intervals; he laid the beads
on top of the blanket and shirt.

"My Brother would also like to offer these humble gifts to his chosen one;
should he not want the attentions of my Brother; all he has to do is leave
the gifts outside his home as a sign of rejection; my Brother will abide by
his decision."

"I will give them to my Brother; I will also advise him to think carefully
before making a decision." John replied.

"Then we both thank you; we will leave you now and wait for his decision
tomorrow."

Ravenhawk and Joseph stood up; after John, helped by the other two young
men; had taken up the other gifts; Ravenhawk folded his own blanket and led
Joseph back towards the clearing; there was a good feeling in the air as
the two walked side by side; Joseph was still silent; now all that remained
was to wait for Samuel to tell him he agreed to become his Berdach; there
was still some nervous times ahead, but he concealed it as best he could.

Ravenhawk was not fooled by Joseph's silence; his own instincts could feel
the tension that ebbed and flowed from his Brother; Ravenhawk almost smiled
to himself as they walked; he now had to watch over Samuel to make sure he
did the right thing next morning.

That night; as they all finished their meal; Joseph stood up and called for
the others to hear him; only the three boys from the farm were not there.

When there was total silence, Joseph began.

"I have given great thought to what we must do; to this end I wish to offer
this suggestion. For our clan to grow strong, we need both a Medicine Elder
to lead our spirits and a Chief to speak for us when there are things to be
decided. I have given great thought to this and; while we have great men
like Liam and Manuel, who are both great leaders in their time; I would
propose that we ask the one person that has kept us together and created
what we have today. I would ask that you all place your trust for both
positions in Ravenhawk and that we name him Chief and Medicine Elder of the
Green Stone Clan. That is all I have to say; I ask for your words on this
matter?"

After a moment of silence for everyone to think over what Joseph had just
said; everyone began to whisper to those seated beside them; it took a few
minutes before the first person; Liam Senior; to stand and talk.

"I speak for my grandson and myself; it has been Ravenhawk that gave us a
new spiritual understanding and so he should by default be our Medicine
Elder; he has also welcomed each and every one of us into his home and led
us the right way; for us we say Yes; Ravenhawk should be our Chief of the
Green Stone Clan."

Next to stand was Manuel.

"My family also votes Yes, Ravenhawk took us in when we had nowhere else to
go; he has made us his family; we stand by his decisions."

Robert was next.

"My brother and my wife also vote Yes, Ravenhawk gave us hope and rescued
us with open arms and a welcome that few would have offered; he should be
the Chief of the Green Stone Clan."

When no one else stood up; Joseph regained his feet.

"Then if there is no words against him, we should declare Ravenhawk Chief
and Medicine Elder of the Green Stone Clan."

For another second or two there was silence, suddenly a small voice broke
the quiet.

"Poppa Raven, you're the Chief now so can we have some pie?" Little Bear
was all smiles as he looked at his Poppa; the innocence of his young face
was only accentuated by his sparkling and mischievous eyes.

The laughter filled the cabin as Little Bear threw his arms around
Ravenhawk's neck.

"Then it is decided; Ravenhawk will you stand as the Medicine Elder and
Chief of the Green Stone Clan?" Joseph asked his brother.

Ravenhawk looked at all the expectant faces; this was an honour he had not
thought nor asked for and at the same time; could not really refuse.

"I will accept but only until or if one who is better suited should join
us."

A loud cheer went up all around the dining hall until Joseph stood once
again.

"We will have to prepare for the ceremony, there is a lot to do; I would
suggest we make the ceremony, two weeks from today; does everyone agree?"

Everyone in the hall; even the young ones, nodded in agreement; Ravenhawk
sighed, now he had two ceremonies to prepare for; it was almost time for
the ceremony the whites called; The summer Solstice; to be had and now he
had the one for a Chief as well; it was going to be a busy time.

As the pie was served by Consuela and Samuel; Ravenhawk noticed that Joseph
never once laid his eyes or spoke to Samuel; to others in the dining room
it was as though Joseph was purposely ignoring the boy; Ravenhawk knew
better; any actions by Joseph could have been construed in the old days as
some way of influencing Samuels decision tomorrow.

Ravenhawk was one of the first to enter the kitchen the next morning; while
he was often early and also usually one of the first; this morning he was
determined to be there when Samuel came in to start breakfast.

Ravenhawk did not have long to wait; within minutes of pouring his coffee;
the young teen came in to help the ever present Consuela.

Samuel saw Ravenhawk standing by the work bench sipping hot coffee; with a
blush he nodded a greeting and went to start making biscuits for breakfast;

Ravenhawk casually went over to Samuel and watched as the teen began to
make the dough.

"You seem happy but confused, this morning Samuel." Ravenhawk began.

Samuel's blush increased as he nodded his head.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Ravenhawk asked again.

Samuel's voice was not much more than a whisper as he tried to answer
Ravenhawk.

"I don't know what to do; I want to go with Joseph but I don't want to be
trapped in the cabin all the time; what do I do?"

"Oh, that's simple; you get someone you trust to speak for you; if you want
to accept Joseph there is nothing to say you can't have a few rules of your
own."

"Oh, I didn't know that, but who shall I get; I'm just not sure what to do
about all this."

"Ok, leave it with me; now answer me this; do you want to be paired with
Joseph?"

"Yes, of course I do, I really liked him the first time I saw him."

"Alright then, go back to your room and get the necklace he sent you; wear
that today but try not to look at or talk to Joseph when you see him; the
rest you leave up to me."

"Ok, I'll try."

"Just do your best and I will look after the rest for you."

Ravenhawk waited for Robert to appear with his wife and brother; it had
become an unspoken ritual for everyone who could; to join together for both
breakfast and the evening meal; it became a good way for the days plans to
be made and; in the evening; everyone could talk about their day.

Ravenhawk walked over to where Robert, Margret and Peter were sitting;
Ravenhawk took a chair opposite Robert.

"Do you have much to do today, Robert?"

"Not a lot; I have some new necklaces to make but I'm waiting for Little
Bear to pick out the stones; what can I do for you?"

"Joseph has chosen Samuel, as you can see by the necklace; he needs someone
to stand for him in reply to Joseph's request; I thought you may be the
best one to do it."

"I'm not sure I know how; as you know, both Peter and I were not brought up
on the reservation."

"It's all pretty simple; when Joseph comes in and has had his breakfast;
you ask him to meet you and Samuel at someplace to discuss his offer; I'll
be there as his spokesperson. When we get together, Samuel should be
carrying the other gifts with him. You need to make it look like you are
undecided as to if Joseph is suitable for Samuel; put the other two gifts
on the ground in front of Joseph and then ask him if that is all he
offers."

Ravenhawk paused for breath before continuing.

"You have to make it look as though Samuel is not to eager to be taken as a
partner; try to find something to haggle about and make it look as though
you are not happy about the union."

"Shouldn't John be doing this?"

"No, John is the Elder of the family; you have to be his friend and
protector; now make Joseph have to work hard for the final decision; when
you think he is ready, then tell him he can help Samuel carry the gifts to
his new home and that you accept his word that he will protect Samuel
always."

"How long should we haggle over the final decision?"

"As long as you like; try to find as many twists and turns as you can to
make Joseph doubt himself; if he stands firm then agree they can join."

"This almost seems like fun."

Ravenhawk smiled and nodded his head.

"It can be if you make a good performance out of it; my Grandfather told me
once; that he saw a young warrior run from the protector when he was a
young man; the two eventually got married but well after the laughter had
died down in the village."

It had now been decided, all they had to do now was wait for Joseph to
appear for breakfast; watching the actions of Samuel as he worked also
brought smiles to their faces; the poor boy was a mess of nerves as he set
out the hot trays.

Ravenhawk was one of the few that noticed the difference in Joseph's
attitude during breakfast; while Joseph was always quiet and said very
little to anyone; today he was almost withdrawn into himself; Ravenhawk
could not help the small smile that came to his lips as he watched from the
corner of his eye.

When Ravenhawk thought Joseph had finished eating; he approached the teen
with a smile after checking that Robert was ready.

"Aho Brother, we need to talk."

"Aho my Brother, what have you to say?"

"The Arapaho would speak with you when you have finished eating."

Joseph looked up at Ravenhawk with understanding in his eyes; Joseph did
not ask how Robert became the spokesman for Samuel; these matters were
rarely as simple as they at first seemed. Joseph nodded and then rose to
his feet and let himself be led outside by Ravenhawk.

In the early hours of a new morning, there was only the twittering of the
birds as they too awoke for a new day; Ravenhawk led Joseph to a quiet
place on the far side of the clearing.

As they found a comfortable place to sit; Joseph spied Robert and Samuel
leaving by the side door of the large hall; he was happy to note that
Samuel was carrying his two gifts. He had not missed the fact the teen was
already wearing his necklace.

When the two arrived close to where the others waited for them; Robert
urged Samuel forward with the two gifts; keeping his eyes on the ground in
front of himself; Samuel laid the two gifts on the ground in front of
Joseph then stepped back beside Robert.

Robert gestured for Samuel to sit down the same as Joseph was doing, they
were now facing each other but keeping their eyes from looking directly in
each other's faces; Robert stood with arms folded across his chest and feet
planted wide as he looked at Ravenhawk.

Ravenhawk stood the same as Robert, it was for Robert to start the
negotiations.

"Ravenhawk of the Lakota, you stand for the Apache? Why is that?"

"I also have the blood of the Apache and therefore he is my Brother and I
stand for him. You are of the Arapaho and yet you stand for the white eyes;
how is this?"

"He is my Clan Brother and I would stand for him as his Elder is not here;
now why would I let the Apache take one so valuable for just a few
trinkets?"

"My Brother did not just buy the gifts as many do today; these gifts were
made by his own hands to prove he can provide for his chosen one."

"Ha, a few beads, a blanket and a shirt that is not yet beaded; these you
would call gifts that match the abilities of my Brother?"

"The beads are the sacred sun beads of the Apache; they are given so that
his chosen will always have the spirit of the sun to protect him from
harm."

"Yes that is true, but he is of my Clan; why would he need sun beads for
protection when his own Clan members would protect him with their lives?"

"As you know, he may not always have a Clan Brother to watch over him; this
way he has doubled the protection."

"This could be true, and the unfinished shirt; is this not an insult to
offer; is my Brother expected to bead his own shirt for ceremony?"

"That is not the desire of my Brother; he did not wish to bead it until his
chosen had seen the quality of the shirt; it is from a young doe; the hide
is thin and supple and the stitching is of the finest; even the fringe is
evenly cut so that it is almost perfect; is your white eye Brother not
impressed with such quality?"

"Perhaps; we shall have to wait and see; this blanket; it is just a jumble
of furs; he would call this a promising gift?"

"The blanket was made from nearly thirty of the finest animals, each one
was given the correct prayers for its spirit to ascend through the mists;
it is now imbued with their spirits and will keep your Brother warm on any
cold night. If you take up the blanket and inspect each and every thread,
you will see how fine the workmanship is; there is also no smell of animal;
the tanning process was also done by hand and with great care; it is a fine
gift."

"So this is all he can offer my Brother albeit they are perhaps a little
better made than some, they are still only trinkets when it comes to my
Brother's safety and protection."

"My Apache Brother has also had a new cabin constructed so that his chosen
will have everything he desires; as yet not one person has stepped inside
this cabin; it is for the chosen one to first open the door."

"I would not let my Brother live in a Hogan or small lodge; if the new
cabin is up to our standards then we may agree to let him stand beside your
Brother; let us go and see what the Apache would call a home for my
Brother?"

Robert signalled for Samuel to stand and pick up the gifts; as he did this,
Joseph also stood up and led the way to the new cabin; it had been built
exactly as he had asked with a very large kitchen area for Samuel to
practice.

After they had all viewed the new cabin, Robert continued.

"My Brother would also ask for the freedom to make his own decisions; he
will not be bound to the home like some poor slave; would your Brother give
him the freedom to move about and to make his own decisions as long as they
did not endanger them both?"

"My Brother knows no reason why his chosen could not have those freedoms;
his position as my Brothers Berdach will give him all the freedom of that
position in his household."

Robert stood and looked to be thinking things over; of course the decision
had been made the moment Samuel had said yes but you did not rush into
these things when everyone but the two main characters were having fun.

Robert let a few minutes pass by before he turned to look over the
impassive face of Joseph.

"Apache, should my Clan Brother come to any harm while under your
protection, then I vow that all of his Clan Brothers will be seeking
revenge; watch over him for your life is also at stake if you fail; Aho
Matak-Ye-Asin; I swear under the eyes of the ancestors."

Robert took one of Samuels hands and placed it in Joseph's right hand; it
was over and done; without another word; Robert and Ravenhawk turned and
left the small clearing in front of the new cabin; it was time to give the
pair some time alone.

On their return to the main clearing; the two boys saw Liam Senior waiting
for them; Liam waved and beckoned them over. Once the two boys were
standing with Liam; he told them what he had planned; with the coming of
midsummer not too far away; he wanted to take a few of the others and look
for needed supplies as well as more fuel; Liam thought they would be away
for at least ten days but was determined to be back before the next
ceremony for solstice.

After a little more discussion, the three agreed it was a good plan; their
little clearing was growing quickly and everything would need to be
improved if more joined them over time; the main problem was running water
and how to get it to the individual cabins.

Liam had told them he now had a plan to provide running water but that he
would need more supplies; it was partially because of this that he wanted
to go looking for them. It was decided he would take one of the SUV's that
had come with the last attackers, they would also take two of the prime
movers and the rig with the large covered trailer for soft goods and other
things they may find.

The plan was put in place for Liam to select his companions and leave at
first light the next day; everyone was happy as it may well be the last
chance before the full heat of summer for them to resupply.

Ravenhawk and Robert were just about to leave when they heard the buzzing
of the alarm that had been put in for the farm cabin; as they were away
from the main clearing; Liam Senior had advised a form of alarm in case
they needed urgent help; the sound of the buzzer in the stillness of the
clearing soon had everyone running for weapons.

John, James and Collin, stood on the veranda of their large cabin and
watched the approaching group of riders; as yet they were still some way
off but definitely headed their way; Collin had been the one to set off the
alarm buzzer back at the clearing; they had been told not to take any
chances with newcomers after the last event.

The three teens stood fully armed and ready to take cover; John raised the
small pair of binoculars to his eyes and began to survey the oncoming
group.

There appeared to be close to a dozen, all riding a variety of horse; at
that range it was hard to see if they were armed but; John was not about to
take any chances; the three teens had put in a lot of hard work on fencing
their new farm block and setting out the plan for their soon to be captured
livestock.

TBC.

artcart65@gmail.com


 

                          Back       Main         Next