THE PATH Part 16

There were no more words. What more could be said? Pa’haana tied on his boots, pulled on a vest. The rest of his clothing he bound up in a large bundle, including his winter furs. He took his flint knife in its sheath, his shield fashioned of woven sticks and covered with the skin of Buffalo, his atl-atl and darts, his long spear. An exile would be allowed no food or water. With Wakanti’s morning rays at his back and the smell of cook-fires in his nostrils, Pa’haana made his way to the Chief’s lodge.

He stopped in his tracks when he saw Tobazhi sitting with the Chief on the latter’s rug, smoking, a bundle on the ground beside him.

“Pa’haana.” The old man motioned for him to come forward. “Sit down.”

“Why is he here?” Pa’haana lay aside his pack and weapons and seated himself.

“Ask him yourself,” the old man said.

“Well?” Pa’haana turned to Tobazhi.

“I will be going with you,” Tobazhi replied, puffing at the pipe.

“Into exile?” Pa’haana asked.

“I have decided you will not be banished,” the Chief said. “But I will set before you a difficult challenge for your penance.”
“What does the W’tah have to do with it?” Pa’haana said.

“I am somewhat to blame for your sin,” Tobazhi said. He offered the pipe to Pa’haana, but the latter shook his head. Tobazhi handed the pipe to the Chief. “You see, my warning to you was not sufficient,” Tobazhi said.

“What do you mean?” Pa’haana demanded.

“Before the hunt,” Tobazhi said, “I cautioned you to keep patience. But my words were not enough. If you had not acted on impulse, then T’cho would not have slapped you, and so you would not have killed him. I should have stopped you before it was too late.”

“You knew that I would kill T’cho?”

“No,” Tobazhi answered. “My dreams did not tell me this. Just that bad would come of it if you were not patient. I did not know it would be so bad. Still, I should have prevented it. I share in your crime.”

“Nonsense,” Pa’haana said. “One Seer blames himself because Maker-of-Ghosts comes in the night, and now another blames himself because I have killed a man. Which of you will bear the blame should the crops fail or we get too little rain?” Pa’haana looked at the Chief. “Send this simpleton away, Grandfather.”

“No,” the Chief said. “Tobazhi has asked to accompany you on your task. I have granted his wish.”

Pa’haana sighed and shook his head but he made no comment. The Chief had spoken.

“Besides,” Tobazhi said, “you will need my help. Someone must sing for you if you are killed.”

Categorized as darkness

By The Evil Cheezman

Purveyor of sacred truths and purloined letters; literary acrobat; spiritual godson of Edgar Allan Poe, P.T. Barnum, and Ed Wood; WAYNE MILLER is the head architect of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, serving up the finest in entertainment and edification for the stage, the page, and the twain screens, silver and computer. He is the axe-murderer who once met Andy Griffith.

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