A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 71: Pawnee Territory

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

I was headed east toward Fort Atkinson,. I wasn’t trying to make in a day, I’d much rather overnight and arrive early in the day with time to get my bearings tomorrow before knocking on the door. So I was riding easy in the saddle and my mood transferred to all of my mounts and my hound as well. It was mid-May and the weather was spring pleasant, we were all just ambling along. It was like we didn’t have a care in the world or anyplace we needed to be.

I reflected back on my conversation that morning with Petalesharo, he had been highly amused by the antics of his young charges and their complete and total failure to perform their duty. Apparently they had failed to waken themselves for the raid on my camp and when he woke them they were stumbling and only semi-coherent. Ah the effects of whiskey on the uninitiated.

Pete had let the boys plan and execute the raid and in their silly state they had forgotten a couple of important things. Primarily they forgot about Brin but they also forgot that I knew that they were coming; Brin gave them a proper wake-up call. We shared a good laugh over that. Pete said was running the boys today to teach them the error of drinking whiskey when on a mission. That made me smile and remember the same sort of lesson being taught to us in the Marines, gawd that had been an awful day.

As we parted Petalesharo asked about the “light of the sun” the boys were talking about, I simply smiled and said “magic”. Then turned and headed out.

I was keeping an eye out for rabbits, chickens or pheasant to supplement my dinner, the chicken I was served the night before had been pretty amazing and given me some new ideas. The trail I was following was in and out of the brush along the Platte and was great territory to hunt small game. I kept my shotgun in my right-hand resting over the pommel with one barrel cocked and half my mind focused was on my surroundings, the other half was off day-dreaming somewhere.

So, just like a big old twentieth-century American feeling all secure and safe in his surroundings I rode right into an ambush. I needed to find better ways to meet new people.

I rounded a little blind bend in the trail and came face to face with two fellas standing on the trail in front of me. They didn’t look like nice people at that very moment, not with the guy on the left aiming a musket directly at me and the fella on the right barking demands in a language I didn’t understand. I heard a low growl from Brin and knew someone was behind me as well; so much for the ambling along in the sunshine idea.

Pete had given me a totem or something to that effect, basically a small strip of leather with a few feathers hanging off of it and some symbols painted on it. He said it would let other Pawnee know that I was a friend as I passed through their lands. So I showed that totem to the loudmouth on the right hoping to calm the waters and it didn’t seem to help, apparently these weren’t friends of the Pawnee.

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