A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 8: The Shaman

Near a silent town lies a Native American encampment, which seems fearsome, but mean no harm to many. This is one of the many homes under the name of the Wichita tribe. Children play and stalk in the tall fields while their mothers are tending to household tasks. Young men take off to hunt while the elders gathered round and discussed their solitude community.

It was a grand hunt in the bulk and breadth of the deep forest. Elk and Turkey were unwisely exposing themselves, making an easy target for the Indians’ guns and bows. Some escaped, but most made the cut.

The pleased trailblazer in charge was a man called Wakoyantanke, who approached and skinned the animals carefully and with vigilance. His appearance was a tall, skinny man with a red bandana, traditional Native American leather clothing and moccasins.

Their catch was plentiful, and they were able to eat on this victorious outcome even that night. All of them returned, with exhausted yet glad expressions. One of the elders spoke,

“You bring great tidings of joy, men. Be pleased on your exploits, and you rest well.”

A campfire was burning as the tribe gathered around it. Embers flowed freely into the night light, and the warm feeling gave all of them a sense of freedom and will. One by one, members of the tribe left, yawning fatigued. Children with their mothers left, and their fathers left minutes later not saying a word.

All of the elders then left in a big group, while Wakoyantanke just looked down in focus and meditation. An hour later, he extinguished the fire and retreated to bed. He entered his tepee and got comforted by his warm bed roll with the pleasant atmosphere around him.

When the sun rose, chants were heard. Wakoyantanke slowly arisen from his tepee and walked over to inspect what the commotion was about. One of the elders was performing a ceremony, but what was it?

Wakoyantanke found out in horror it was in fact a funeral, and one of the elders was preparing the body. It had one shotgun shell to the abdomen, followed by many small pistol shots in the leg. The elder observed him and talked to him while he approached,

“Greetings, brother. We had an ambush in the night, while poor Adahy here was caught in the hold up.”

“An ambush, why is that? I would have heard it…”

“You see; this man wasn’t from our tribe. I knew him elsewhere during a peace gathering. Adahy was delivering some supplies as a messenger, that’s all. I was out walking here until I found him under the sound of multiple gunshots, dying.

“That seems truly tragic. His tribe were allies with us, correct? Then we can host a funeral tomorrow, and plan how to deal with these…. invaders…”

“Agreed; here are some pelts to trade. We need to be armed if we want to protect the forces coming upon our faithful community. The town nearby should have a gunsmith; bows won’t do… for now.”

He left with all the skins from his hunt the night before, and left while the elder continued his chanting. He grabbed a horse and took off for Faith’s Freedom. It was mainly a farming community, but should have plenty of guns to stock. He approached the gunsmith, dismounted his horse and entered the gun store.

At first he felt uncomfortable with him walking into the paleface town, but no one made objections. Faith’s Freedom was known to be strong and fair, and probably why his ancestors made camp next to it. The gun shop owner came over with a calm tone, and asked, “Oh, you must need service, will it be dollars or trade?”

“Here.”

All of his pelts were undamaged and accepted nicely. Wakoyantanke was able to buy 4 repeaters and a musket. He had the musket as his favoured but basic choice. The man kindly said, “I know your tribe. I will be gladly able to deliver them for you. Now I’m guessing this is for your protection, correct?

“Yes, sir. We had an ambush last night, with an attack of an allied tribesman.”

“You better watch out, young man. There are rumours of a corrupt army General going around relentlessly killing and capturing Natives. You must be careful, young warrior.”

“Any idea of what his name is?”

“Don’t know exactly. What I can tell you is that he was short man wearing a brown coat, hardy boots and a big scar near his eye. He looks nasty, so I would recommend an entire army to match with his. He bought some guns in my store on the notebook yesterday, with the initials, ‘U.C’.”

“Thank you. I will be on my way.” Wakoyantanke took the musket for himself and had a walk around the area with his new weapon on his back. It was nice weather, and inspected the work areas. There were many general stores and places where they sold mining ores. It must have been a strong mine community.

He went from mine to mine, curiously looking at all the different ores produced. Signs such as ‘Gold’ and ‘Copper’ were seen on the top of the shaft entrances. The silence of the countryside was broken due to the sound of multiple gunshots. There was a sign saying ‘Granite’ where the sounds came out of, and he peered inside to inspect the commotion.

To his dismay, he saw a tall man aiming a gun at a miner! He took him by surprise and pointed his musket in his face, and he was taken by shock. Wakoyantanke then asked the man,

“Is your name with the initials, U.C?”

The man was surprised of this attack but slyly looked down his musket for a second, focussed and said, “No?”

He then attempted to disarm him by yanking on the bayonet and thrusting the rifle but in Wakoyantanke’s face. His nose was bruised, and the man got away saying,

“I got what I need, and we shall meet again!” The miner was seen trembling on the floor, trying to recover. He said, “Thanks mate. I owe you one!”

They both then parted ways surprisingly and Wakoyantanke left with the miner continuing with his work, despite his shock for another attack, but he ignored this; he must have had a family needing to be fed.

Back at the camp, Wakoyantanke returned, and both tribes gathered round mourning the loss of Adahy, the man who died just doing a simple task. Couriers returned and delivered the guns. It also looked like the other tribe used some as well. One of the elders from the other tribe shook hands with Wakoyantanke and said,

“You have been a great guardian angel. Now, we fight for our cause!”

All of the young male Indians cheered and went back to their tepees to put on war paint, while Wakoyantanke remained and protected with the women and the children. Tonight, they fight back.

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