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Chapter Eight

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Even if I knew there was no harm in the trespasser, I didn't want to get up. This image in my mind, of my Papa coming into this camp, this place that someone like him could never fit into, and start shooting. It didn't fit the man he was.

So I stayed down, hoping that Papa just shot for the warning.

Before I knew it, Motavato was back, but his face was grim. "You know who that was, don't you?"

I nodded. He looked away from me and closed his eyes. "Well, that sound of fire probably alerted any enemies in our range of where our camp is. We have to leave, pack up our camp right now, or we will no doubt go to war."

Still confused, I shook my head. "Motavato, if you have the time, could you please explain this all to me? I'm just a little confused by this all. Why was Papa here? Is he...Okay?"

This time, Motavato completely turned his head away from me. "He is fine. But he loves you. Wants you back. But, I will explain this to you in my teepee. Where we are protected by Maheo, our creator god.."

I nodded and followed him into his teepee. There, I found Ikshu and Chameli looking over all of the herbs, Chameli sitting on a bed-like stool in the middle of the teepee. When Motavato stepped with heaviness, Ikshu jumped, looking like a deer who just realized you were there.

Ikshu smiled and put his arm around Chameli. Motavato didn't look impressed, but he allowed the two to stay inside of his teepee while he gathered some small, green leaves in his hand and put them in Ikshu's sack. Ikshu didn't acknoledge it. He was too focused on Chameli.

"Now, I will start from the beginning, Emily," He said, carefully looking through his herb collection. "But I will not repeat myself. So you must listen.

"It all started with Ikshu's family. They were exiled from their tribe." He looked up from his counting and stared at Ikshu. Ikshu nodded for him to go on. "Anyways, their tribe is not Arapaho, like I have told all of my tribe. He is from the Crow."

The Crows. They were the worst enemies of the Cheyenne, and the Arapaho. Ikshu looked uncomfortable, but Chameli seemed as if she already knew this information. So I gestured for Motavato to continue.

"When they came to me for guidance, I could see they had kindness in their hearts. They were not like other Crow. But I knew, my people would not except them, because of the Crow resemblance. I put them into the Arapaho category, and left it at that.

"But, you see, the Crow found out that the Cheyenne was protecting their exiles. They did not take that lightly to their minds. So they have been stalking us for months, making a battle plan. None of the warriors know about this. I should have told them." Motavato stopped counting his herbs and stood next to me, somehow comforted by my presence.

"Then, it got rough. My daughter..." Motavato bit his bottom lip hard, and closed his eyes. "My daughter went with her soon to be husband hunting, since he could not go alone. The Crow found them, and only killed her. They respect the men more."

I wondered. "Who was her husband?"

His eyes met mine. They had gotten glossy very quickly. I could tell that he was picking at an old scar by telling me this. "The husband would have been Hiamovi. He has been my friend ever since the incident. Only because he begged for forgiveness. He says he tried to fight them off. I believed him.

"But now I worry that our chief has crossed paths with some Crow warriors. Viho may be strong, but not enough to overtake a group of Crow." He opened his eyes again, which were light pink around the sides.

Ikshu opened his mouth to say something, when a crack from outside came in. We all stopped, barely breathing. They were obviously from boots. Possibly Papa's boots, since I haven't seen one Indian who wears boots that heavy.

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