On to Denver
After the defeat of the Deceitful One the world around the Posse seems to be dissolving and She who does not raise her young instructs them to follow her back to where they entered the Hunting grounds. The dream like transit is contemplative for them and then once they return they are then instructed to think of Gennotoka’s lodge and they will be able to return.
Even as She who does not raise her young finishes speaking a Wolf crawls out of the underbrush. The Wolf gives a whine and then shakes his fur free of leaf litter and other debris. Also a Crow swoops down and alights on a branch in front of Dancing Crow. The Wolf greets Daren and the Crow speaks with Dancing Crow. While they are doing this the Reverend notices that Kibechay is talking with a wee rabbit behind a bush. After noticing the Reverend watching him and everyone else’s guardian spirit have left, Kibechay informs the posse that he must remain behind. His body is no longer living. Since he means to take his time going on to his final destination in the Hunting grounds, he volunteers to spy to learn about their mutual enemy, and to keep the Posse’s weapons safe for them should they return someday to the hunting grounds. (Since the weapons are there as a spiritual representation it’s not as if they lose the use of them when they wake up!)
They agree and give him their weapons, though they are sad at this parting. Then after thinking on Gennotoka’s lodge, they return. Once Gennotoka is certain they are really themselves, he releases them from their cocoons. As it turns out Kibechay is indeed dead, apparently one of the manitous forced him to swallow his own tongue and Gennotoka didn’t realize this until it was too late. Everyone is tired so once they have cleaned up and rested, the Posse sits down to talk with Gennotoka to learn what he knows of Wendigo, the spirits and the world.
I am Shoshoni and I was born at a time when many of the people were gifted in the ways of the spirits. Our village had 3 Shamans and I was one of 4 students who would one day earn themselves the title Shaman. We saw this as our blessing, maybe the most important.
Like many tribes we were seeing white men as a sickness to our land. They would come and slay all buffalo for their skins and leave the carcasses rotting on the ground. Their wagons would cut scars into the land and frighten all game away for weeks. They would build their homes and cities on land that would be better for crops and their garbage would foul the land frightening all the spirits away from the sacred areas. This has only gotten worse since the ghost rush.
Then the Paiute told our tribe of the Ghost Dance. I was nearly done with my training when they came and told us of the Great Spirits message of a promised land in the future when no whites would exist and all of the Buffalo herds would return.
I had many questions for the Ghost Dancers but they could never explain why or how these things they promised could happen but still our leaders wanted what they offered and we learned the Ghost Dance. We learned as well as anyone could learn and yet we never were able to succeed in our ritual as the Paiute did. I was frustrated and I was young and proud. I couldn’t stand the waste of effort and I saw the requirements of the dance itself as dangerous. All members of the tribe would have to dance until they collapsed from exhaustion. We repeatedly did this with no one left capable of standing after wards and no result from the spirits. We were wasting our time. No one agreed with me and so I left my people and wandered for a few years from Tribe to Tribe.
There I saw more cause to despise and hate the white man. They were turning the people against each other. The white men of the south used the tribe Tonkawa to hunt other tribes and the North White men did this too with the Pawnee, and our brothers allowed themselves to be used! While I was among the Comanche I heard of the Tonkawa who led by white men of the south killed an entire village of Comanche. They did not just kill them, they ate them.
I know the Comanche killed the Tonkawa then for this and some of the survivors of their tribe are now in Cheyenne and Arapaho. I’ve heard whispers that their cannibalistic rituals still continue but no stories of Wendigo among them.
The tale of the Wendigo is always the same. A village will succumb in the winter to their need to eat and one among them will be greedy and turn into a monster killing all the rest. The tale is meant to teach those who hear it that we work in the other seasons the great spirit has given us so that the winter may be a time of rest, not fear.
What I have learned of Wendigo in these tales and what I’ve heard of others who may bear this spirit’s curse, is that it does not hold all equally hard and those who fight it may never become a monster. But I don’t think it will be easy. If you wish to be free of it you may have to fight the spirit of the Wendigo in the Hunting Grounds as you fought the Deceitful One this day.
The Wendigo spirit is much more powerful, I don’t know how much, but I’m sure you will need to make yourselves powerful to fight it or gather many allies to help you. If this is your wish then I will help you as much as I can.
While I wandered I was approached by a warrior who said I might like to help fight the rise of the White man in our lands. He was Sioux and through him I learned of and joined the Raven society of warriors. I thought it was necessary if we were to get the White men to leave our peoples alone. After 5 years fighting with Raven, I had enough and I had learned more than I liked about what they were really about but I knew I couldn’t just leave. At first I resigned myself to living with my choice, then I met my N’Talya. She was a white woman and I tried to stop myself from loving her but my spirit would not follow my mind in that matter. When I found I could make a story of my death in a burning building, I did that and ran away with N’Talya to Shan Fan. There our daughter Cenona was born.
In Shan Fan I found it difficult to be a medicine man and I found through my love of N’Talya that I could lay down my hate of white people.
Out in California I heard rumors of cults of cannibals, but I never saw evidence of their activities or heard of any turning into Wendigo. I heard of many other horrifying creatures though and the pace of life with Ghost rock so in demand eventually drove us to look for another way and place to live. After many months of wandering we came to Denver and then here. Snow Camp was just enough close to satisfy my N’Talya and just far enough that I could endure the White men and not feel my hates rising again. It was only 3 years ago that my wife died while bearing my second child, who also died. I have been mourning ever since and now I have no one to live for anymore.
Gennotoka offers his home as a place of refuge to the Posse should they ever need it, and he urges them to tell their tale of defeating the Deceitful One to the people in Snow Camp, to give them hope. In the morning the Posse departs to return to the mining camp.
Ol Doc Ted and all the other residents of Snow Camp are feeling better and they are pleased to learn the story of how the Posse defeated the Deceitful one in the Hunting Grounds, even if the Reverend turns the tale a bit Christian. The people at Snow Camp are grateful and since Zeke is going to Denver for supplies and a mail run the posse set out with him the following morning. Their party is large consisting of the Posse plus Mitch, Pete and Jack Turner who has accompanied them from Fort Lamar.
In Denver the Posse stay in a 3 room suite at the Whittier Inn, paid for by Zeke as a thank you from him, the Doc and on behalf of Foscoe Mining Company. The next day they take to the streets to do several errands and personal business. Denver has a policy of insisting folks check their fire arms in either at the City Marshall’s office or with their Hotel Concierge, so by evening when resting or reading the posse are not armed with their guns when they hear a sound of scuffling outside the inn.