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As hard as Akecheta tried to focus on what Mason was saying the warrior couldn’t keep his eyes off young Thaddeus Jr. The General had never mentioned Mason or a wife. But those were different times. The treaty between the Sacred Nation and the soldier fort was the most important issue at the time. And yet here, standing in front of him, was a constant reminder of Atwood’s best friend and mentor.

Thoughts went back to Ska and the fact he and his wife never had a child even though their love for children was readily apparent. Were there regrets? Absolutely. Memories drifted back to the school Ska and Little Fawn started to teach the children how to read and write in their language. Intertwined with those basic of teachings were the life and growth lessons the elders reinforced with the telling of the ancient stories. Looking back Akecheta was sure the school served as a partial filling of the motherhood Ska must have felt during their marriage.

But again times were different. The responsibilities of bringing the people and the nation together were of greater importance than expanding their personal family. Both had agreed upon this issue when they performed their wedding ceremony. But now Ska was gone and he felt lost and searching.

“Akecheta, is everything ok? You look tired and pale.”

“I am sorry Mason. My thoughts are elsewhere. I need to sit. May I have some water?”

“Of course. Thaddeus bring Akecheta some water while I fetch a chair.”

As Akecheta watched Thaddeus Jr. bring him a container full of water his mind drifted back to a time in the not so distant past. The warrior’s memory focused upon a memory. A memory so succinct he could watch the actions and listen to the one sided conversation of a time when he was a child. It was that day when he and his father took that walk together for the last time. A memory of his father telling him at the age of ten he could teach his son no more and it was time for the young man to strike out on his own to visit his mother’s mother in a far distant place to obtain his name and to take the first steps in his life’s journey. And now standing in front of him was another ten year old. A boy who had already lost his father and mother only to be uprooted and placed on the verge of his own journey. After taking a sip of the cool liquid Akecheta gazed upon the boy.

“Your father was a good man. I bet you miss him?”

“Akecheta, my father was a good soldier. I hardly knew him. He was always away on assignment. But if you say he was a good man I will believe you.”

It was here that Mason spoke up.

“Akecheta, the boy’s mother was taken two years before his father was killed. His mother died from the sickness. He was at her side when she passed away. His father was away on assignment. I stood by the boy’s side when his mother died. Then two years later his father was killed in the massacre. He was left without parents or a home. The only thing about his father is that he was never there.”

Akecheta’s thoughts went to the things his father, mother and the village had taught him. Even finding his place within his circle of young friends was full of life learning experiences. The warriors thoughts returned to the school Ska and Little Fawn had started for the young ones and how the example of that school had spread to the other villages as he witnessed in Blind Owl’s village. The next thoughts he had were of the children in Running Fox’s village and all the other children who had lost one or both of their parents during the invasion from the evil ones. What was to be done for them? What steps needed to be taken by the nation to bring a sense of normalcy back into their lives? And what of the children and wives of the soldier fort who had lost their husbands during that same battle? The words of that three year old girl began to haunt the warrior.

“What do you seek Akecheta? What do you seek?”

He had stumbled upon the next question from an innocent child. The time was nearing to search for the answer. The rest of the meal was a blur filled with small talk and repetitious questions. Akecheta patiently fulfilled then role of visitor and communicator but Mason could tell the warrior was drained.

“Folks I would be neglect if I didn’t say our guest shows signs of fatigue. He has traveled long and far and now it is time for rest. So I will call an end to these festivities to give our visitor a chance to rest and recoup his energy. Please feel free to mingle amongst yourselves but I will escort Akecheta back to his quarters shortly.”

Akecheta looked at Mason with an expression of knowing gratitude.

“Does it show that much?”

“My friend your shoulders are slumped to the floor.”

“I am tired but I didn’t think anyone would notice.”

“Well I did and the remedy is sleep. So I will walk with you back to your quarters. Sleep as long as you need. When you awake just go to the central mess and they will feed you. I will let them know although they do not need reminding.”

“Thank you Mason. Sleep sounds very inviting.” The two rose from their chairs and said goodbye to the crowd. Mason made sure Akecheta had everything he needed before he bid his goodnight. Looking at the comfortable bed Akecheta lied down and sleep overcame him immediately.

Part 5

Akecheta was deep in slumber when he started to feel drops of liquid on his face. Thinking it was only a dream the warrior closed his eyes tighter to block out any subconscious thoughts that would disturb his much needed rest. The droplets stopped and Akecheta blindly smiled in his half sleep telling himself he had overcome another obstacle albeit a minor one in his way of thinking. Rolling over on his side he delved further into his sleep. As he journeyed he could feel the droplets hitting him again accompanied by rhythms of warm air. Returning to semi-consciousness Akecheta reasoned it was raining and there must be a small hole in the roof and he didn’t remember leaving any doors or windows open.

{I’ll tell Mason about the leaks in the morning. The simple thing to do now was just move the bed and put containers on the floor to catch the water.}

Akecheta rolled onto his back again and opened his eyes to collect his bearings. To his astonishment a white bear cub was directly in front of him and the droplets were coming from the cub’s mouth. Thinking he was about to be the cubs next meal and he would no longer be breathing soon Akecheta quickly rolled out of bed and crashed onto the floor. Lying prone his first instinct was to grab his rifle. But it was not next to the bed where he had placed it. Meanwhile the bear just sat and stared.

{Bow and arrows. Where’s my bow?}

That too was missing. Akecheta was now near panicked. He checked around the quarters. The door and windows were shut.

{How had the bear gotten in? They weren’t known to open doors and there was no food lying around. Where’s my rifle?}

And the bear still sat in the same place.

“If you’re looking for your weapons I put them outside.”

Akecheta spun around to see who was speaking.

“Akecheta look at me. I mean you no harm. I put your weapons outside to protect me.”

Akecheta just stared at the white bear cub still sitting stationary but raised its head when the warrior heard something speak. Again he looked around the room.

“Don’t panic. The only two in the room are you and me Akecheta. Be still and no harm will come to you.”

“I hear a voice and see your head rise up when I do but your lips do not move. How can this be? Where did you some from? How did you get in here? Why are you here?”

“Wait wait my impatient two-legged. One question at a time.”

“Ok one at a time. I did not know you could talk the human talk. When did this happen?”

“I was given this power temporarily for you to hear.”

“But your lips do not move.”

“You are hearing what I am being told to think.”

“You can think?”

“We have our limitations as do all species including yours but yes we have a brain and can what you call think.”

“But how do I know what you are saying?”

“You are the keeper of the Feather are you not?”


“That is how.”

“Where did you come from?”

“The mountains in the far frozen north.”

“How did you get here?”

“An Old Man put me here. He told me to tell you he wears a red bandana and you would know what that means.”

“But why did he send you?”

“He said for you to follow me and that some one wishes to speak with you.”

“When and where do we go?”

“We go now and I am to take you to a certain spot told to me by Old Man and then I will go back to my home in the north. What happens after that I do not know. I hope I am doing the correct thing.”

“If Old Man told you this then you are. Let me dress and I will follow.”

While Akecheta was putting on his leggings and moccasins he marveled at the way White Bear Cub placed the warrior’s rifle, bow and arrows gently on the bed. When the cub finished he turned to Akecheta.

“Are you ready?”


That was all Akecheta could say still amazed he was talking somehow with a bear and they could understand each other. Akecheta then realized he had just been shown the power of Creator and the simple way by which Grandfather could display his glory.

“Well then we should go now.”

Akecheta followed as White Bear Cub lumbered out the front door of Akecheta’s temporary quarters. As he exited Akecheta looked up and noticed the moon was full and nearby stars had been relocated in the shape of an arrow to indicate the direction the pair should travel. If Akecheta guessed, he would have assumed the two would head north towards the Sacred Mountains but he would have been mistaken. Instead they headed southeast towards lands the warrior had never ventured to. What lie ahead was unknown and unexplored by him but he reasoned that White Bear Cub had been sent by Old Man and one had to trust if one was to grow.

As Akecheta followed the bear cub he wondered how the bear knew which path to take. Then he noticed that tiny light arrows would appear whether on a tree a rock or on the ground to indicate which way to follow. The two walked for quite a distance when Akecheta noticed the terrain was starting to change. At what appeared to be some sort of border the cub stopped and looked at the warrior. What lie ahead was desert and the fur coating on White Bear Cub would be a definite hindrance rather than a help.

“This is as far as I am supposed to take you.”

“Where do I go from here?”

“I was told you would be shown the way. There is a water pouch and some food on that flat rock. It is for you.”

Ake cheta walked to the flat surface and discovered meat, fruits and roots were waiting for him. When he turned around to thank the bear cub he was gone without a sound to indicate his departure. Puzzled Akecheta sat on the flat rock, drank from the water pouch and began to indulge in the preparations. As he ate the warrior recognized the rock as the one he sat on when he and his father walked and spoke of the son’s journey oh so long ago. Looking towards the heavens he noticed a star stream across the night sky and eventually disappear leaving a trail of what looked like dust that sparkled and shimmered against the blackness of its surroundings. Concentrating on the beauty of father Sky Akecheta did not notice the person that approached.

“When you are done eating we will continue. Save plenty of water as you will need it. It’s hot out there.”

“Thaddeus Jr. How did you find me?”

“I was brought here to help you. Take your time then we will continue.”

“So I’m supposed to follow you? How do you know where to go?”

“Do you see that point way off in the distance?”

“No it’s too far away. But how can you see it and how do we get there?”

“Akecheta that is the future which cannot be seen.”

“But that is where you are taking me?”

“No I am taking you towards the future. If you are done eating we must go. Be sure you take your water. Your thirst will increase the more you travel towards the future.”

“Are you going there with me?”

“No I will not go as far as you for now. But I was sent to guide you on the correct path.”

“I am ready now Thaddeus Jr. We should start.”

Akecheta stood up and the pair stepped over the imaginary boundary that separated the shortened prairie grasses from the desert sands. Instantly the darkness disappeared and replacing its peaceful tranquility was a blazing sun accompanied by searing heat. As the two began to walk Thaddeus reminded Akecheta to bring the water pouch to which the warrior pointed to the carrier already slung over his shoulder and across his chest. Satisfied the young boy struck out in the lead and glanced over his shoulder to make sure Akecheta followed.

“Don’t worry. I’m right behind you.”

“Just making sure.”

Akecheta quickened his pace so that he was astride his young companion and together they walked towards their unseen destination. As the sun rose higher in Father Sky the heat intensified. At periodic intervals the two stopped to rest and Akecheta sipped from the pouch. When he offered some to Thaddeus the boy declined.

“Aren’t you thirsty?”

“No I’m fine. I had my fill a while back.”

“Well just let me know. I’ll be glad to share. There’s plenty.”

“Not necessary. My needs are being taken care of as we speak. Let’s move on.”

The sun rose higher and higher and the air became stifling. The heat began to blur the vision of the boy and the man as they took each step. Off in the distance what looked like a lake appeared.

“There’s water ahead. We should keep moving.”

“That’s the heat playing tricks on your eyes Akecheta. The heat comes out of the ground to fool you.”

“I’ve heard of that before but I thought it was a story from our ancients.”

“Well Akecheta, you can see it’s true. It’s no story. You can tell your people that when you get back to your home.”

Akecheta looked into the distance and saw what appeared to be another figure walking towards them.

“Another trick Thaddeus?”

“No. She is expected.”


“You’ll see.”

The two walked slowly in the direction of the heat lake as the figure walked towards them. As they neared each other Akecheta could not make out who it was but from the stature the figure was human and short. The closer they came, the more familiar the figure became. Finally Akecheta recognized the human as the little girl he had helped in the village of Black Crow. When they were face to face the little girl spoke.

“Are you finding what you seek?”

“What are you doing here? How did you get here? I am sorry you never told me your name.”

“I was sent here just as Thaddeus was. And I am called Star Gazer.”

“Star Gazer? An unusual name. How did you come by it?”

“When I was born I was given the name Bright Eyes because my eyes were always wide open to take in my surroundings. But my grandmother saw that I was always looking into the night sky. She said nothing could distract me when I stared into the heavens at the stars. So she called me Star Gazer and that is who I have become.”

“You speak well for a child your age.”

“These are my grandmother’s words. She said I will grow into them. Just as Thaddeus has grown into his.”

“So you two know each other?”

“The man Mason Free brought Thaddeus to our village and introduced us. Just as Thaddeus has no parents and Mason acts as his father my parents are also dead and Black Crow acts as my father.”

“It is good to know that different people’s look out for their children. I have heard stories that led me to think otherwise.”

“Do not worry, Black Cow is a good father and the women in the village look out for me as well. My grandmother does what she can but she often needs help. The younger braves see she wants for nothing. I am glad that is our way.”

“I am sorry about your parents but glad you are well cared for.”

“Well it is time to get going. Thaddeus are you ready?”

“I will walk with you Star Gazer.”

Akecheta let the two young ones lead and he followed closely behind. He kept a small distance to give the two a chance to talk. He marveled at the way the two children could carry on while the intensity of the heat increased to the point sweat poured down the warrior’s forehead and partially blinded his vision. But these two children carried on as if they had not a care in the world and they were strolling among the tall prairie grasses instead of the sand. The temperatures had reached the point where Akecheta was glad he had taken the time to put on his moccasins. No wonder White Bear Cub had stopped where he did. His unprotected paws would never stand up to this heat. It was then Akecheta looked down and saw that Thaddeus and Star Gazer were barefoot.

{How in the world?}

Thaddeus stopped his conversation and turned around.

“I think we should stop here and rest. There’s some rocks nearby where we can all sit.”

Akecheta looked around and saw nothing but heat seared ground.

“Trust us Akecheta they are there. Your eyes play tricks.”

“I have no choice but to trust the both of you Star Gazer.”

The three changed direction and walked towards the west. After a short while they came upon a drop in Mother Earth’s skin and below them was a group of flat rocks to rest upon.

“Thaddeus, how did you know?”

Star Gazer looked at the warrior.

“We were told and we listened and heard. Let us rest.”

“Fine by me. Are either of you thirsty? There’s still some water left.”

“We are fine. Sit over there, drink what you need and leave the pouch open.”

Akecheta, although puzzled, did as instructed. He sat across from the children in amazement. They had not had anything to drink nor did they have anything on their feet to protect them from a heat so intense it would leave burning scars on unprotected flesh. But neither showed any signs of pain or discomfort. Now Akecheta looked towards Father Sky and saw a bank of dark clouds rolling in from all sides. A storm was encircling them and the warrior looked for shelter.

“Do not worry Akecheta. No harm will come to us.”

Akecheta could only sit and watch as the clouds thickened. The skies blackened as if the sun was being blocked out. The increased clouds had the desired effect of turning a sun-blazoned sky into a moonless night. Akecheta peered at the two young ones who appeared unmoved and unnerved by the actions taking place above. Then the clouds opened up and released their moisture. The steady rainfall turned into a deluge of welcoming coolness. Neither lightning nor thunder was present to cause any harm to the three travelers. Just a liquid that was greeted by both body and spirit. Star Gazer motioned to Akecheta to take the top off his water pouch to refill it. As soon as the warrior did this a steady stream of water fell into his pouch as if directed by something above the storm. Within seconds the pouch was refilled and the cap reset. As soon as this was accomplished the dark clouds parted leaving a heavy mist far overhead and as far as the eye could see to block out any direct sunlight keeping the surface sands of Mother Earth cool.

The atmosphere was that of early dawn or late dusk. The brightness of day was gone and the three retraced their steps to the path they had vacated to find a spot to rest. When they were back on the correct path the journey began anew with Star Gazer and Thaddeus leading once more and Akecheta following closely behind. After they had traveled what seemed to be another ten miles under the misty overcast sky Thaddeus pointed to a particular spot ahead of them.

“Akecheta you are to stand where I have pointed and honor the four directions four times When you have finished you are to face towards the spot of the unseen future.”

Akecheta did as instructed and came torest facing the unseen future.

“You must stand there and trust. Do not move.”

Akecheta remained motionless and steadied his breathing.

“Now you must close your eyes and empty your mind as much as possible. You will hear and feel things but do not open your eyes until you hear my voice.”

Akecheta closed his eyes and began to envision his parents and his group of friends while he was growing up. As this was happening he could hear strange noises coming from above and he could feel peculiar vibrations all around him. But he kept his eyes shut. This continued for a time and the temptation to see what was happening was great. But he resisted. He could hear Thaddeus and Star Gazer singing a song known only to the two of them as the ground continued to vibrate around him. As if on cue, when the two finished their singing the noise from above and the vibrations stopped simultaneously.

“You may open your eyes now.”

When Akecheta opened his eyes he was surrounded by a circular wall of tall lances stuck into Mother Earth and protruding well above his head. Akecheta approached the lance wall to see if he could push them to the side but they could not be budged. He looked towards Father Sky and noticed that the tops of the lances were covered in a substance that was the color red. His thoughts went immediately to Thaddeus Jrs. Father, General Albright, and how these lances reminded the warrior of the massacre of Atwood’s best friend at the time. The red substance was the color of blood and Akecheta was saddened.

“Am I to be caged in here for a reason?”

“No Akecheta, on the contrary, you are to be released. Look up.”

Akecheta diverted his attention to Father Sky once more only to see the mist had thickened while his eyes had been closed.

“Released? How? By who?”

“Be patient.”

Without missing a beat a bolt of lightning appeared and began a rapid descent towards the warrior. Instinct took over and Akecheta crouched as low as he could to avoid being hit. But he was not the target. Instead, the lightning struck the top of one of the lances and instantly ignited it. Flames shot up and quickly spread to both sides until the top of the circle was ablaze. Akecheta stood up and watched in amazement as the flames and heat soared upwards, He stood in awe as he watched the conflagration burn a perfect circular hole in the now blackened mist far above. What was revealed to him was the scen far above Mother Earth’s atmosphere and far beyond the sight any person had ever seen. He watched as the flames and heat burned their way deeper into the heavens. Past the stars that had been taught to use to find their way. Past the moon used to measure their months and seasons. Past the unknown objects that did not twinkle as the stars did. Well beyond the known to the little known to the rumored to be unknown.

While this was being revealed to the warrior Thaddeus and Star Gazer began chanting. Akecheta lowered his line of sight instinctively to find he could now see through the solid wall of lances. He watched as Thaddeus and Star Gazer joined hands while they chanted and with their free arms motioned hailing gesture to all th directions. The warrior redirected his sight to the wonders above and stood in silent awe of the beauty, glory and power that was being revealed to him. As his sight was mesmerized above Akecheta could hear the sound of other voices coming towards him. He spun around and around to see young children of all ages were approaching. Some were as Star Gazer was, some as Thaddeus, some as Mason was and some as an ethnicity he had heard about but never seen. Now he understood why the medicine wheel was painted the way it was. Red, Yellow, Black and White. All equal in space on the wheel to depict balance and harmony.

As the children approached they took up the chant started by Thaddeus and Star Gazer. As they neared the outer perimeter of the lance circle  they each took a position and waited for their Sacred Circle to be complete before they joined hands. What the circle was complete the chant changed and increased in intensity. All exterior noise was blocked out as the young ones called out to the above. Akecheta delighted in the strength and harmony of the voices which grew louder as each verse was completed. As the chant gathered strength the ground began to move. Fearing another tremor Akecheta sat down in case the next one knocked him off his feet. The children chanted louder and the ground began to shake. When the chant reached a certain pitch the ground started to raise taking Akecheta upwards. Slowly at first the ground rose but the lance circle was large enough to insure his safety. But to make sure the warrior placed himself in the center so he would not stray close to the edge which was beyond the structure of the lances.

Higher and higher the ground rose and Akecheta watched in amazement as he passed through the darkened mist which he could see through the transparent lances. He became mesmerized by the actions that were taking place. As the ground swell started to reach the outer limits of the black mist a blast was felt beneath the warrior’s feet. In a moments flash he could see through the floor they had separated from the now stilled land mass.

The warrior sat as he looked up and could see and enclosure being fashioned to the top of the now extinguished lances. A sound was heard above his head to indicate his compartment was now a shelter to protect him from any dangers that lie ahead. Upward and fastyer he traveled to the outer reaches of Father Sky. As the enclosure penetrated the blackening of the heavens Akecheta was glad there was no barrier to keep him trapped inside the confines of Mother Earth and Father Sky. He was traveling from what was known to what was speculated into the realm of his ancestor’s dreams and visions. Akecheta looked down and could see Mother Earth becoming smaller and smaller the further he traveled. Much to his surprise he saw that Mother Earth spun in a circle rather than Father Sky, Sister Sun and Brother Moon circling around his home. Off to the east he could see the brightness of the Morning Star. To this he offered a silent prayer in the hopes that someone was doing the same below.

Akecheta recognized that his enclosure offered no means of escape. But his instincts assured him he was not being caged but this was a necessary protection. He understood without being told that to venture out of this enclosure would mean instant and certain death. He did not know how or even why but the lessons he had been taught, grown up with and honed told him to be still and enjoy the journey. Sitting down on a flattened stump that had appeared Akecheta would occasionally sip from his water pouch. The majority of the time was spent just looking at the sights that were passing before his ever widening eyes. To absorb all would be impossible but to take in enough to appreciate and understand was a necessity. So the warrior sat, looked, saw and studied. What had been an object of protection was now a mode of transportation. It was now traveling through the darkness of the heavens at a rate of speed slow enough for Akecheta to understand there was more to Creator’s vision than just Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Just as the warrior thought he had seen wonders to be understood the stars began to swirl and twist above him. The celestial bodies gathered together in a sphere and began to split into two separate groupings. Then they started to rotate in opposite directions which resulted in sparks shooting outward in all directions. Their spinning increased in intensity and the frequency of sparks flashed before the warrior’s eyes. Watching the dance of the spheres Akecheta noticed the distance between the spinning globes increased as they grew larger in size and intensity. The dance continued as each sphere slid down the opposite sides of the transparent enclosure.

This movement continued until the spheres had settled underneath Akecheta see through floor. Then as if orchestrated by the rhythm and tempo of an unheard musical force keeping time the spinning action of the spheres grew to a frantic pace. Sparks of differing size, shape, length and colors shot out in all directions with such a force they formed a solid wall of light energy. Akecheta sat in amazement as the wall of light gathered strength and approached the enclosure. Then a huge burst of light energy was released sending the enclosure hurtling outward reaching a speed where all was a blur. The warrior could feel the enclosure tumbling, twisting and turning through the heavens. But all sense of up or down, left or right, in or out, forward or bachward was gone. All was correct and balanced in any and all directions. A multitude of streaking lights passed by at such a rapid speed leaving the warrior to wonder where he was headed and when would he get there. The speed began to decrease and Akecheta sensed he was approaching his destination. Eventually the enclosure came to a stop. Akecheta sipped some more water as he gazed in all directions. Finally he asked himself aloud.

“Where am I?”

As soon as he said that a portion of the transparent lance wall became solid and words appeared.

“You are here.”

“But where is here?”

“In the center and beginning of everything.”

“Who are you?”

“I am who I am.”

“Are you Old Man?”

“No He is my Son. You know me as Grandfather.”

Akecheta fell silent completely humbled and in awe.

“Why am I here?”

“I brought you here to remind you of you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You are on a journey. One that started long before you were born and will continue long after you cross. It took time for things to be right to put you on Mother Earth.”

“I thought you only appeared as a burning bush. I was told that by some of the men from the soldier fort.”

“That was another time. Different ways are used for different peoples and even different species.”

“You mean you appear the he four-leggeds, the winged ones and others?”

“Yes that is the essence of what your ancestors called A’ho Mitakuye Oyasin is it not. As your ancestors and elders have taught we are all related and all would mean everything would it not?”

“Yes certainly but why am I here?”

“You are on an exploration. A journey that has taken you a long way and I thing you need to be reminded of that. You have done and seen many things and have made many mistakes but you are still on the correct path. Hat is why I have brought you here. To help you heal.”

The words stopped appearing on the lance wall and the interior of the enclosure darkened. Images started to appear and Akecheta kept his focus on the things being presented for him to view. Images of the past to remind him of the present were being revealed to the warrior.

The pictures were shown in a way that told a story he could understand. A scattered but linear version of Akecheta’s life up until the present. He watched himself on the ever pressing quest to find that mystical, and what he thought, mythical feather. Forward to his father telling him he must follow his heart. Tears came to his eyes as Wasicu, Nicki and Ichika appeared. The finding of The Feather and being saved by the winged ones as he fell to certain death. The coming together of The Sacred Nation. The impending war that was stopped without firing a shot by the invasion from the soldier fort. And Ska. No words were good enough for those memories. The love that grew between them and the loss he felt when she was killed in that other bloody war. Time had passed and much had changed. He had grown in many ways. Pictures of Standing Bear, Little Fawn, Blind Owl, Atwood, General Albright and so many others flashed before him. With these thoughts the warrior sat and smiled. Much had been done and much more was needed to do. When the images stopped Akecheta remained silent for a while. When he recovered he broke the silence.

“At first I did not know why you brought me here. But I am glad you did.”

“Akecheta it is good to reflect upon oneself every so often to see if the direction you chose is the direction you are headed.”

“And if it’s not?”

“Then it is up to you to determine if you need to change your path.”

“But you already know this.”

“Yes but you don’t.”

When that was spoken a gentle mist formed within the enclosure. Inhaling this mist Akecheta’s eyes grew heavy and try as he might to keep them open they fell shut. When he opened them he was laying on his back on the bed in the quarters Mason had prepared for him. He jumped out of the bed to gather his wits. Was it a dream or a vision? How long had he been gone? Had he been missed? He went to the front door and walked outside for some fresh air. Mason happened to be passing by making his nightly rounds.

“Akecheta I thought you would be asleep by now. Is everything Ok?”

“Um yes Mason everything is fine. Thank you for asking. I am tired so I’ll go back inside now.”

“Well goodnight then.”

“Good night Mason. See you in the morning?”

“I would like that. Until the morning.”

Akecheta went back inside and just sat on the side of the bed. The dream was so lifelike it was almost real. The warrior looked around his quarters to see if there were any signs of a change. Not seeing any he stood up once more and walked around the room. As he approached his rifle something caught his eye. Among the rifle, bow and arrows was something wrapped in a white buffalo hide. When he unwrapped the bundle he found pieces of the lance wall, a necklace made from bear claws and the water pouch he had been given. Now knowing what took place in his mind actually happened Akecheta raised his arms and thanked Grandfather. Exhausted he lay down and let a deep and restful sleep penetrate his being.



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