white wolf - part 7

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Chapter 12

They arrived at the High Valley camp on the third day, it was located in a very wide valley surrounded by massive peaks. Hundreds of tepees covered an area near a central lake and beyond that, were vast open grasslands where countless horses grazed. John discovered their group was the last tribe to arrive and a flat space close to the lake was set aside for them. They were left in peace to unpack and set up their camp and by the early afternoon the new camp was ready.

John walked to the lake with Morning Light, from a distance he looked like the other warriors except for his blonde hair. They both enjoyed a refreshing splash then wandered back to their tepee. That night John was asked by the Little Wolf to come with him to meet some of the other Chiefs and elders. Most of the leaders had already heard of 'White Wolf' and were keen to meet him. They were quite impressed when he could speak their language and nearly all of them asked about the white wolf.

That evening John met and spoke to such leaders as Morning Star, Little Horse, White Shield, Flat Iron and Comes in Sight. Every Chief treated him respectfully and were interested in his thoughts about a wide range of topics. The men smoked from a long decorated pipe as they talked. When it was John's turn to smoke he inhaled the fragrant tobacco and asked Chief Morning Star about it. "The pipe is filled with the bark of the red willow and I will tell you what the symbols mean." He told John the 4 ribbons hanging from the stem were the 4 quarters of the universe."The black ribbon is for the thunder beings who live in the west, they bring us rain. The white one is for the north, from where the cold wind comes. The yellow is for the south where comes the summer sun and the red one is for the east where the Morning Star lives to give us light and wisdom." John examined the array of feathers near the pipe's bulb and looked at the Chief. "Those eagle feathers are for the Great Spirit who gives life to all," explained the Chief. Little Wolf joined the conversation saying "this pipe is what the whites would call holy or sacred, it is very, very old and it means all of what Chief Morning Star has said and more than any man can understand." As John glanced at the others, they nodded wisely so he took another long draw on the pipe and carefully passed it on to Little Wolf.

Chief Morning Star examined his necklace and congratulated him on having so many enemy kills represented on it. John's new bride had updated it with five more black feathers. The Chief asked him how he was able to survive so many attacks but before he could answer, Little Wolf piped up. "I was beside White Wolf during his most recent kill and I saw how fast his reflexes were and how calmly and easily he dealt with the enemy. His courage and strength cannot be questioned as he is an elite warrior." Morning Star raised an eyebrow but nodded to his old friend Little Wolf while John simply added "sometimes I've been lucky and sometimes the enemy were not." White Shield then asked if John would be entering in the fighting bouts scheduled to begin in two days time. Again Little Wolf interrupted and said "that hasn't been decided yet." John was about to leave the Chiefs when the quietly spoken Chief Little Horse asked if he could really turn into a wolf? John smiled and said no, he then invited Little Horse to come and see the real wolf. Little Horse and White Shield both returned to camp with John and they saw Snowy lying in front of the tepee. Neither Chief wanted to get too close because they'd heard some of the stories but they were really impressed with the wolf. White Shield remarked "how can such a calm, quiet animal be so dangerous?" Rain Bird arrived at that moment and told the Chief he'd had the same thoughts about White Wolf the man. When the Chiefs left to return to their meeting, Rain Bird told John the story of how Chief Morning Star once killed a grizzly with just a knife. The Sioux called him Chief Dull Knife and this name was now being used by many others.   

The following day John and the other warriors were summoned by Little Wolf. The Chief  explained  he needed to nominate one or two warriors to represent their tribe in each of the 'friendly' contests. The fighting contests were the first events so they needed someone to take part. Standing Bear was an obvious choice but he didn't know if Buffalo Calf or Crazy Head should be the other choice. Rain Bird suggested these two men compete against each other and the winner to then take on White Wolf. Everyone agreed this was a good idea and they wondered how White Wolf would go against such experienced warriors. The first match was soon organised and John got to watch how they went about it. He was told the rules of fighting Indian style allowed for you to punch, kick, throw, bite, in fact any fighting method was ok. There was no time limit to a fight but it ended if one of the combatants held his arm aloft signifying he'd had enough, or if someone was knocked out. The match between the two Cheyenne ended quickly when Crazy Head flattened his opponent with a wild jumping kick to the head. John took off his top and stripped down to his pants. He also took off his necklace and medicine charm. The crowd of onlookers could see his athletic build, narrow hips and wide shoulders. John's biceps bulged when he lifted up his arms and his hard flat stomach rippled with muscles. He balanced himself on the balls of his feet and moved lightly around, waiting for his opponent to strike. Crazy Head tried to kick John in the groin but it was easy to evade. Then Crazy Head rushed forward in an attempt to grab John and pin his arms down. John moved sideways and out of reach then suddenly jabbed his fist into the warrior's mouth. He followed this up with a straight right punch that slammed in the man's jaw. It staggered Crazy Head and John was able to sweep his legs out from under him and force his elbow into the man's throat. With no other choice but to choke, Crazy Head lifted up his arm, surrendering.

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