THE LAST SHAMAN
The time had finally come, today was the shortest day of the year and one of the two most important dates for Ravenhawk’s people, the other being the longest day or summer solstice, each held powerful magic in their own way.
As before, the circle surrounding sweat lodge was clear of all traces of snow as it had been ever since it had been constructed, outside the circle the snow was now a foot deep but inside there was now only fresh green grass covered with the small yellow and white wild flowers and the warmth seemed to come up from the very ground itself, even the air was warm and the boys had no need of clothes either.
Ravenhawk was wearing nothing but his beads, feathers and carried over one shoulder, his medicine bag, even his feet were bare as he stepped from the cabin and walked through the snow and into the stone circle of the sweat lodge, Antonio and Little Bear were already there and tending the fire to heat the stones, Little Bear had been given the task of using herbs including ghost sage to sprinkle over the fire and stones to keep the fire sacred before the stones were set inside the lodge.
The preparations for this day had taken most of yesterday and last night, Ravenhawk had taken each of the boys aside one by one and gone through everything they needed to know for the ceremony, even Little Bear had his part to play and took his duties very seriously, the short prayer he had to say when he put herbs on the fire heating the stones, he practiced nonstop in a quiet whisper as he moved around the cabin.
Ravenhawk had taken the potion to cleanse his insides and had fasted since yesterday morning, even water was not allowed past his lips, as he stepped into the circle he saw that Antonio was caring for the stones as he had been shown, Ravenhawk was surprised that Antonio had been able to do it without any of the stones exploding from overheating as was the norm for someone that had not done it before.
Antonio looked up as Ravenhawk stepped into the circle, his boyfriend was wearing far more beads than normal although his Raven Clan beads were over the rest and more prominent, Ravenhawk had explained them to Antonio last night as he did with the two feathers now tied into the top of his scalp, the only other adornment on the naked teens body was a single string of small bells on his left ankle that jingled as he walked and the old beaded medicine bag over his shoulder.
In his right hand, Ravenhawk carried a smudge fan made from three Eagle feathers and bound together with rawhide thongs; the feathers looked to be those from the pin feathers of the mighty bird, the symbol of Creator himself, Ravenhawk looked for the last time to make sure everything was as it should be, satisfied he bent low and stepped into the lodge and took his seat at the West Gate, it had been marked by a ribbon of black cloth bound onto the lodge supports just above the doorway.
Ravenhawk looked again to make sure the other ribbons were still in their place, in the position of the East Gate was tied a yellow ribbon, at the South gate, a ribbon of white and, just to his left at the North Gate was the ribbon of red, each was tied in a special way as they were to not only mark the gateways but to send the small prayer to Creator.
"May the great Creator enter here and hear our prayers this day, Aho my thanks to Creator."
As Ravenhawk did not have the usual Elders to perform in the sweat lodge, he had to try to make the best of things by using Antonio and Little Bear, had it been a time before the destruction, they would not have been allowed anywhere near the lodge, but hard times make strange friends, he hoped they would follow his instructions as best they could.
Ravenhawk took his place sitting cross legged, once settled he began by filling his Chanupa with pure tobacco, as he did so he sang the song of pipe filling.
Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo.
Hecanuki nitunkasila waniyang u ktelo.
Canunpa wanji yuha ilatake ci.
Miksuya opagi yo.
Hecanuki taku yacinki iyecetu ktelo.
Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo, Kola lecelecun wo.
Hecanuki nitunkasila waniyang u ktelo.
Hocoka wanji yuha ilotake ci.
Miksuya opagi yo.
Hecanuki taku yacinki iyecetu ktelo.
When Ravenhawk had finished the song and after lighting it, he made the gesture to each of the four gates as he sent his prayers to the Creator on the wisp of smoke he blew out.
As he had instructed, Antonio came to the door with the first hot stone balanced on deer antlers, Ravenhawk took the antler and placed the semi glowing stone in the smaller circle all the while he sang the stone song while he waited for Antonio to return with another, neither of the other boys would be allowed directly into the lodge, everything would be placed at the doorway for Ravenhawk to use.
After about ten stones were inside the lodge circle, Ravenhawk began the new prayers as he sprinkled water on the hot stones and the steam rose around him, outside he knew Antonio would be tending the fire, it was his job to keep the fire pit clean and making sure everything was ready when Ravenhawk needed more hot stones, he had been given the title of Firekeeper.
Little Bear was also busy, in front of him he had three small leather bags, each one held a different herb, Ravenhawk had been very particular and patient in teaching Little Bear this duty, each herb was for a different thing, when new wood was placed on the fire by the Keeper, Little Bear would take a finger and thumb of one herb and sprinkle it over the new arrival saying the short prayer as he did so.
For the addition of new cold stones was another herb and for the removal of the hot stones was the last herb, each time Little Bear would say his prayer to keep the fire pit, and its contents sacred
Antonio continued to bring the stones to the door until he saw a sign from Ravenhawk that there were enough to hold the heat, Antonio returned to the fire outside where more stones were heating, as those inside cooled off they would be replaced by newly heated ones and the cool ones returned to the sacred fire.
There were to be no words spoken by either of the boys except for Little Bear’s prayers at the fire pit, this was a very sacred time and only the soft drone of Ravenhawk’s voice as it issued from behind the thick blanket that covered the doorway could be heard in the circle.
At first Antonio thought the ceremony would last only an hour or two but, after some three hours and no let up, he began to realize that Ravenhawk could be in there for a long time, almost on the hour Antonio would go to the door and replace the cooler stones, all the time staying silent as Ravenhawk worked on, the air inside now smelt heavily of sage and some other unknown herbs and the temperature was far above what the two boys would have been able to handle.
Ravenhawk himself took little notice of the heat, his body glistened with the continuous flow of sweat from his lithe body, in the dim light his skin shone with an unearthly glow and still he chanted and said his prayers, outside it appeared as if even the snow had decided to stay away on this important day.
It was late in the night by the time Ravenhawk had finished the prayers to the sixteen points of the circle, it was now time for him to travel to those places that very few Medicine Men or Elders were wont to go, this was the place where the spirits could talk to a Medicine Man if he was strong enough to resist their nature.
Not even the bravest of Medicine Elders went to this place unprepared, to travel through the in between was a scary thing for any man to do let alone one so young but Ravenhawk had no other options, there were things he needed to know and only the spirit of his grandfather could tell him, if all went wrong, Ravenhawk would never return to the normal plain and would be trapped for ever more in the realms of the mists.
Outside the boys suddenly realized that there were no more sounds from inside, neither wanted to be the first to go in if they were not needed but the sudden cessation of Ravenhawk’s steady voice began to unnerve them, had he fainted from the long period of intense heat, was he even now lying unconscious and unable to call them for help?
Antonio had almost decided to look inside to see but then remembered what Ravenhawk had told him, he was to stay outside unless called for by Ravenhawk himself, his timing told him he had another half an hour before placing new hot stones inside the doorway, he would just have to hope that Ravenhawk knew what he was doing and was not in any danger.
The next half an hour seemed to never end as they both stood by the low fire and tried to listen for any sound from inside the lodge, at last the hour was up and Antonio had to hold himself back from running towards the blanket covered doorway, with Little Bear by his side he tried as best he could to remain calm as he drew back the blanket, much to his relief, he saw that Ravenhawk was still sitting immobile as he had been the whole time.
Antonio could not replace the few cool stones with fresh hot ones unless Ravenhawk handed them to him, he waited but got no sign from Ravenhawk as Little Bear waited quietly beside him, Ravenhawk had his eyes closed but both boys saw that his chest was barely moving, it seemed that his breathing had slowed to where he was almost not breathing at all.
Antonio took one more look and decided it would be better to return to the fire and wait for the cooler stones to be placed outside, with Little Bear close on his heels he returned to the fire pit to keep it clean, the stillness and very shallow breaths of Ravenhawk did not give them any sense of relief, even the air inside the lodge seemed to be holding its breath, the eerie feeling permeated even out to the fire where they stood guard.
The first glimmer of dawn was showing in the Eastern sky when the two very tired boys heard the first movement from inside the lodge, turning they were just in time to see a very tired and thirsty Ravenhawk appear from the depths of the small building, he looked as though he had lost every ounce of fat that had ever been on his slim body.
What caught Antonio’s eye the most was the haunted look that Ravenhawk had, it was as though he had been to a place that wrung every emotion from the young teen and then went about scaring him half to death, Antonio ran to Ravenhawk’s side and hooked an arm under his shoulder to help him walk.
As he helped Ravenhawk to the centre of the circle, he could hear the tremble in the teens voice as he asked for water, Antonio had no idea why Ravenhawk was now like this but he knew better than to ask, Little Bear had run through the snow the short distance to the house to get a mug of water, his own tiredness long forgotten in the need to help one of his new fathers.
It was nearly another hour before they were all ready to return to the house, even after the rest and three mugs of water, Ravenhawk was still unsteady on his feet and needed the help of Antonio, the next thing to do was cook a huge breakfast, all three boys were more hungry than they could ever remember.
As Antonio cooked breakfast, little Bear sat in Ravenhawk’s lap with his small head pressing against the teens chest, Ravenhawk knew that the little boy was probably scared for him and so would occasionally pat him on the top of the head in reassurance, his own eyes still had a haunted look.
While he had been in the realms he had had a bad time and it was only through the help of his Grandfather’s strong spirit that he managed to escape back into this world, it had been a close call but he was not about to tell the two boys about it, there were some things they did not need to know, for himself he knew he would not be able to go back into the realms until he was a lot older and stronger but at least now he had the information he was seeking even though the price had been high.
It took only minutes after they had finished breakfast and all three were in their bed, it had been a long and harrowing day and night, Ravenhawk was totally wiped out and could barely walk to the bed without help from Antonio, Little Bear scrunched himself up close to Ravenhawk and drifted off to sleep with one small arm over the teens waist.
Antonio awoke to darkness, outside he could hear the howling of a high wind, it appeared that the full force of winter had decided to make itself known, there would be no going outdoors today, Antonio began to light the fire and hunt around for some candles, the generator had been switched off during the sweat lodge ceremony and they had not bothered to restart it afterwards.
Antonio got the fire burning high and bright As he looked for something to make for a very late dinner, he knew he would eventually have to go outside and start the generator so they had some light but for now the two candles would do, perhaps if they were not going to be up late they would not bother with the generator at all.
Finally Antonio had a rough dinner ready for them all, a thick slab of cooked ham, two eggs and toasted sourdough bread from yesterdays breakfast, not the best he had ever done but filling enough for the night, Antonio went to the bed and saw that Little Bear’s eyes were open and watching him, the sparkle in the light blue eyes told Antonio that the little imp had been watching him for some time but did not want to leave the warm bed.
Antonio smiled at the little boy and then swiftly reached down and began to tickle him until Little Bear had to jump up and run away towards the fire to escape the torture, giggling all the time as he evaded Antonio’s best attempts to recapture him for another tickle, the sound of the bubbly laughter finally awoke Ravenhawk, after a good stretch he looked over to see the other two running around the table with manic smiles and laughter.
Ravenhawk rose from the warm bed, even now his stomach was still complaining from the long fast, the smell of hot food soon had him sitting down and beginning to eat as the others finally settled down to join him, Little Bear keeping well out of the reach of Antonio’s longer arms.
When they had finished the meal, all Ravenhawk wanted to do was return to bed, the other two had little trouble in joining him, the long ceremony had taken a lot out of all of them, it would be dawn before any of them stirred again, Little Bear made sure he was on the far side of Ravenhawk to stay out of range of the tickling fingers of Antonio.
When the boys awoke next morning, the first thing they heard was the loud blast of the winter storm, it had been raging all night and there seemed little chance of it slowing down any time soon.
Taking it as his duty, Antonio was the first to slip from the warm covers and quickly stride to the nearly dead fire, with cold fingers he relit the fire and soon had it roaring and sending its heat out into cabin to warm the air.
Slowly the other two left the warm bed and joined Antonio by the now hot fire, outside the wind howled and all they could see through the window was a white blanket, it looked as though the cabin may be snowed in, they would have a lot of work to do if they wanted to get to the tool shed to restart the generator.
Ravenhawk still looked as though he would need time to recover, there were dark circles around his normally sparkling brown eyes and his skin was looking a little sallow, "it must have been a bad time in the sweat lodge all alone" Thought Antonio.
All three boys found warm clothes and then sat to eat the breakfast Antonio had made for them, it was the first time that Antonio noticed the new growth of very light platinum blonde hair on Little Bears head, he now understood why the little boys eyebrows were so pale, when he had been brought in he was so dirty that Antonio had not been able to see the true colour for the dirt.
Antonio leant over and brushed the very blonde stubble on top of Little Bears head, it was as soft as silk, Little Bear even leant into the light touch, he was always ready for any tenderness he received.
The heavy snow storm continued to rage outside as the three boys went about their duties inside, Ravenhawk was still looking a little worn but was recovering from his ceremony, he now sat by the fire and began to mark out the newly tanned deer skin for Little Bears clothes, at the same time he was contemplating whether he should add some beadwork to it for the little boy.
Little Bear was sitting close by Ravenhawk’s knees and watching intently in between standing up to be measured and sitting down to watch, Antonio was making the finishing touches to cleaning the cabin, it had been Ravenhawk who had braved the storm to go out and start the generator so that they now had lights along with the intense heat of a roaring fire, it was almost a scene of blissful homemaking.
The storm raged for two days and nights, snow was now piled high and the cabin was now no more than a very large hump in the snow covered ground, even the once immune sweat lodge circle was now invisible, somehow, once the ceremony had ended, everything had returned to normal, only the faintest of bumps showed where the sweat lodge now stood.
When they awoke on the fourth day after the ceremony, the storm had abated, the new morning sky was crystal clear and the first rays of winter sunshine glistened on the white blanket of snow, the trees surrounding the cabin hung heavy with the build up of snow and occasionally you would hear the soft rush of snow as it fell from a branch and plopped onto the frozen ground.
Ravenhawk had worked hard on Little Bears new clothes, now, along with his new gloves and fur lined boots he would be able to go out and play in the fresh snow, he was almost jumping at the chance to go out, there was only one thing holding him back, when the door had been opened there was only the faintest splinter of daylight showing near the top, they were snowed in.
Ravenhawk looked at Antonio and shrugged his shoulders, it looked as though the two older boys had some work to do but first they had to get out and get to the tool shed for shovels, it was going to be a long morning, as usual it was Ravenhawk who moved first, with wriggles and grunts, he squirmed his way through the upper edge of the snow bank until finally coming out into clear daylight.
Ravenhawk’s snow shoes were somewhere underneath the bank, he would have to trudge through the thick fallen snow to the white hump that was the tool shed and then squirrel his way inside for the tools, the generator had been left running all through the storm as they could not reach it, he would have to refill the fuel tank while he was inside.
It was very hard work but, by midday the door of the cabin was clear along with that of the tool shed, the lean-to had not suffered the same fate but did have a large build up around one end, the two horses had quickly sought cover inside the open lean-to from the worst of the storm.
Little Bear made the most of the opportunity to play outside, both Ravenhawk and Antonio spent a lot of time laughing at the little boys antics as he tried to run and play while wearing the newly finished small snow shoes, once again he spent a lot of time face first in snow banks as the shoes got the better of his exuberance.
By nightfall it was a tired but happy trio that sat down to dinner, the cabin was warm and the food hot, after the tension of the sweat lodge ceremony, the boys now felt relaxed and at ease, there was very little that could harm them now, they were safe, warm and well fed, they could ask for nothing more.
During the following month there were no more very severe storms like the first one although there were some lighter ones but the boys did not suffer the hardship of being snowed in to such an extent as that first storm.
Ravenhawk had been out a number of times to set his traps, even after only a few months without so many people around, Ravenhawk noticed the marked increase in his catches, the great Mother was replenishing the land now that the humans had been thinned, Ravenhawk was happy for the extra skins and hides he was gathering.
Antonio, with the help of some cooking books found in the cabin, was becoming a very proficient cook and, along with his nightly beading sessions, had taken a liking to his place in the home, Little Bear spent a lot of time being fascinated by the arts and crafts his two new Dads could do, they always had time for him and for the first time in his short life, he felt as though he was important to someone.
What encouraged Little Bear more than anything else was the way the two teens included him in everything they did whether it was beading, skinning an animal, cooking or tanning, everything they did they would let Little Bear help and teach him at the same time, now, at the end of the first month, Little Bear was showing a good inch of very platinum blonde hair all over his head, he even looked happier now that he was not bald anymore.
Antonio guessed it was either late January or early February, it was almost dark and they were settling in for another warm night, he was just about to lay dinner on the table and Ravenhawk and Little Bear were sitting in front of the fire working on a newly tanned deer skin, this one was for the long awaited new shirt for Antonio.
It was Ravenhawk who heard it first followed quickly by Antonio and Little Bear, the far off noise sounded like a very sick engine trying to move through the snow, Ravenhawk glanced at Antonio then jumped to his feet and went to the large rifle on the wall as Antonio reached for the smaller 30.30, Little Bear was directed to the back of the cabin where he would hopefully be safe.
With a flick of his hand, Ravenhawk switched off all the lights except for the one outside over the door, it was dark enough that they would not standout if the oncoming machine held danger for them.
The boys positioned themselves on each side of the doorway and slid the lower window up enough to peer out into the growing darkness while they knelt out of sight, the noise of the Skidoo was coming close but sounded as though it was not going to keep running much longer.
After a few minutes they caught sight of the machine for the first time, it was blowing a large cloud of white smoke from the exhaust and spluttering badly, on the seat were the figures of two people, one smaller than the other.
The driver had what looked like a rifle slung over his shoulder but the smaller passenger had nothing except what looked like a small bow; they were dressed in what looked like white man’s clothing and their faces were well covered by the deep hood of their parkas and the large snow goggles.
With what sounded like the last gasp of the machine, the newcomers stopped just inside the circle of light thrown by the front porch light, the two boys tensed up as they watched the driver dismount, take the rifle from his back and then, much to everyone’s surprise, lifted the rifle high above his head with one hand and call towards the cabin.
"Aho, the cabin, we need shelter, I ask for hospitality." The voice sounded young, not boyish but not adult either.
"Who are you?" Ravenhawk replied.
"I am called Robert Bearclaw this is my little Brother Peter."
"Where do you come from?"
To anyone else this would mean which place or town you came from, to Ravenhawk and the boy outside it meant something else altogether.
"We are of the Bear clan and are of the Arapaho, who asks for my name?"
"I am Ravenhawk, Medicine Student of the Raven Clan of the Lakota and Chiricahua Apache, why do you ask for hospitality?"
"Our cabin was destroyed by an avalanche, this machine is all we rescued, we have been travelling for three days and your cabin is the first we have seen, we have no food or water left and the machine is now broken."
"Give your weapons to your brother, he must bring them forward and lay them on the porch then step back, we will decide your place when you give up your weapons."
Robert Bearclaw turned and nodded to the much younger boy still sitting on the skidoo, handing his own rifle and then pulling a large hunting knife from under his jacket, he told Pater to take them to the porch and lay them down along with his own small bow, once done, Peter stepped back, as yet neither boy could be clearly seen with their faces still covered by the deep hoods.
Ravenhawk nodded to Antonio to go out and collect the weapons, he had an innate feeling that these boys were no threat but he also did not want to take chances, he was the warrior and head of this house, it was his duty to protect it and make sure it was safe for his new family.
With the weapons now inside, Ravenhawk called for the two boys to enter the cabin, he kept his rifle in his hand although not pointing directly at the two boys. Once they were inside and the door was closed tight, Ravenhawk and Antonio stood side by side to look at the newcomers; slowly Robert lowered his hood followed quickly by Peter.
Robert looked to be about fifteen or sixteen, Peter was perhaps nine or ten years old, both boys had their hair cut short in the white man’s fashion but it was growing longer, Ravenhawk stepped forward one pace.
"I am Ravenhawk, Grandson of Mist Walker, lead Medicine Elder of the Lakota and this is my Berdach Antonio, over there is our son Little Bear, I welcome you to our cabin, the rights of hospitality are offered freely."
Robert took a short step forward and lifted his right hand in an open position to shoulder height.
"Aho Ravenhawk grandson of Mist Walker, I am Robert Bearclaw, I am sorry I have no tobacco to make the offering but in its place I offer my rifle."
Ravenhawk reached out his hand and they grasped each other wrist to wrist.
"The offering is not needed, a warrior needs his weapon to defend his family, the offer is as good as the gift but I cannot accept that which will put a family in a position of danger, come, sit with us, we were just about to eat."
Robert and Peter removed the rest of their winter clothes, underneath they were dressed in jeans and chequered shirts just like any white man would have been, neither of the newcomers had said a word about the more traditional dress of the three hosts, it would have been seen as an insult to mention it without it first being mentioned by the hosts.
Little Bear came out from his hiding place and immediately took cover behind Ravenhawk, the advent of strangers into his home had unsettled him, it had been a long time since he had seen new faces.
All five boys sat at the table, Antonio had cooked another thick stew of deer meat and had some fresh bread to soak up the juices and gravy, afterwards there was a thick fruit pie he made from some of the preserved fruit from the cellar although he thought his version of pastry was a little dry but it all went into the very hungry mouths without comment.
Little Bear made sure he kept either Antonio or Ravenhawk between him and the strangers although he did keep glancing furtively at the younger brother, he was the only one at the table even close to his own age.
After dinner, all five sat around the front of the fire, it was Robert who broke the long silence.
"I would ask about your Berdach, he is not of The People yet he looks comfortable as your partner."
Suddenly Ravenhawk felt like an old man, he paused for a while before he answered, in another time it could almost have been an insult to mention such a thing but these were new times and needed new ways, after thinking over the question, Ravenhawk realised there was no animosity in the question, he decided to answer it with an open mind.
"He is now of The People, I have made him my Brother and a member of the Raven Clan as I have with our son Little Bear, these are new times, those of us who are left must make some new ways as well as follow the old ones."
"I understand and apologise for asking such a question of my host but I was intrigued by the fact he was not of The People and yet you took him as your Berdach, thank you for understanding."
"I would ask why you are dressed like a white man and what skills of The People do you have?"
"We were living in Salina, on the outskirts, the school demanded we dressed like others at the school, my uncle was a lead drummer at the Pow wow, he was teaching us both, I have been a student drummer for four years at the Pow wow with him, my brother has just started to learn but is very good for his age."
"You have come a long way, how did you get so far north before the winter?"
"After the virus we did not know where to go, with all our family gone I just set out with Peter and hoped for the best, it was not always easy as we do not have the old skills for survival, we had to rely on shops and towns along the way, I was not sure which direction we were going and, when the snows started, I thought it better to find shelter. It was not to hard although we had to limit our food as the snows set in, when the avalanche destroyed the cabin I had to find somewhere else so we took this machine and just went in one direction, it was luck that I saw your lights."
"The Creator was watching over you for a reason, he made you find us, now we have drummers, we can follow the old ways better, will you and your brother join us?"
"This is a decision we must make together, can we have time to talk it over, I know what my own mind says but he must also agree."
"Good, then we will leave it until tomorrow, it is late and we all need sleep, you may use the other bed in the small room, it will give you a place to talk in private, I think it’s time to get some rest."
The boys broke up and went to their separate rooms, after switching off the generator and banking the fire for the night, Ravenhawk joined Antonio and Little Bear for the night, it had been an interesting day and they had to think over what the new boys had said, if they agreed to stay then they would have the start of a new family or even a new clan now that most of the old ones were no longer alive.
For long into the night Ravenhawk lay with his eyes open, as he thought about what might be, there were many thoughts that rushed through his mind but none seemed to stick, at this stage they were all just a jumble.
Ravenhawk knew there was something important going on, it was only when a major event was about to happen that he could not sleep, beside him Antonio and Little Bear were sleeping soundlessly with barely a movement between them but for Ravenhawk there was only turmoil in his head and yet there was nothing he could pin down, he tried to close his eyes once again and get to sleep.
Finally Ravenhawk slipped off to sleep, it seemed like only moments before something awoke him, there was a chill in the air that should not have been there, with tired eyes Ravenhawk tried to take in the rest of the room, there was something not right about it, suddenly a realisation hit him; he was alone, Antonio and Little Bear had gone missing.
Ravenhawk tried to rise from the cold bed, the harder he tried the more he was held back, finally, with little thought left, he yelled loudly and jumped to his feet, he had to find his family, he had promised them safety and he was not about to lose his new found Berdach.
Ravenhawk stumbled as his feet hit the floor, again he started as he felt a presence in the room, the first thought to go through his head was the two new boys, had they taken his family, he began to swivel his head around searching for his Berdach and his son, it was then he saw him standing quietly in the middle of the floor, startled Ravenhawk looked closer at the vague figure.
The image was dressed in all his best finery from finely beaded moccasins, leggings and Medicine Shirt to his large and elaborate Medicine Bonnet with the double tails of Eagle feathers which hung to the floor, at the tip of each feather was the wisp of white above a small red bead, the wearer looked so much younger than the last time Ravenhawk had seen him.
"Aho grandson, do you not welcome your own Grandfather into your home?"
The first few words were stammered as realisation took hold of Ravenhawk.
"Aho Grandfather, welcome to my home, have the spirits come for me?"
"Oh no my Grandson, I am here to give you hope, you have done well with starting your new family, the two Arapaho will become your brothers, you must now become a true leader, Creator has made the way clear for you so from now on, on the first full moon of each of the four seasons, you will hold the sweat lodge ceremony, at this time you will be given entrance to the in-between, Creator has said you are to be left to walk where ever you wish within the realms for that night only, when the time comes you will find me and we will talk more, return to your sleep now, Aho Matak-Yee-Asin Grandson."
Before Ravenhawk could utter a single word, the young image of his Grandfather shimmered into nothingness, Ravenhawk suddenly found himself laying in the warm bed with his two family beside him, the image of a young Grandfather still bright and clear in his mind, he felt good that he had so far done what was right, now all he had to do was build his family, even if that meant creating a new Clan.
My respect and thanks must go to "The Singing Stone" for the words of the pipe song, for those who would wish to learn more about the prayers and songs of the Lakota please go to this site for information: Ceremonial Songs in the Lakota language