This Sight is Continuously Evolving
An old woman ducks her head to enter Bringer of Fire's hut. Bringer looks up from the work he is doing.
In a subdued voice the woman says. "Excuse me for interrupting your work Bringer of Fire but Speaks First requests that you come to him in the elders lodge."
"How is he today Bringer asks" with concern evident in his voice.
The woman shakes her head. A tear slowly rolls down her cheek. "Not good" she croaks.
"We have no time to lose then," he says as he rises to his feet and motions toward the door with his hand.
The woman ducks out of the hut followed by Bringer. They walk toward the dwelling of the elders in silence. The entire village is in a somber mood. People sit in front of their huts talking quietly. Even the children, normally noisy and boisterous, are now quietly entertaining themselves. Even though they don't know what is happening they can feel the tension in the adults.
As Bringer and the old woman enter the lodge of the elders, several of the old ones rise to leave. "Wait, do not leave" Speaks First says in a soft hoarse whisper. "What I have to say must be heard by all of you."
"How are you feeling?" Bringer asks as he kneels near the old ones bead.
"Not well my old friend" Speaks First wheezes. "My eyes are dim and my breath does me no good" he continues barley audible. A racking cough ravages the old man. Bringer can hear the rattle in his friend's chest and knows that the end must be near.
After some moments the old man continues. "Soon you will be taking my remains to the ridge of the dead where I can rest and watch over the land of the Fug-a-we." Another cough shakes the frail old body of Speaks First In Council.
The old woman that had summoned Bringer covers her face with her hands and sobbing uncontrollably exits the lodge. Another misty eyed woman follows to lend support to the first.
Among the elders who remain, there is considerable sniffling and wiping of eyes. The ancient leader of the tribe takes in another rattling breath. He holds out his hand to Bringer. Bringer of Fire takes the frail hand in both of his.
"When I am gone you, Bringer of Fire, will have to take my place in the council. Lead my people well. They will need all your strength and wisdom to continue to survive in this world."
"Have you heard anything of the young man who was called by Coyote?" The ancient one asks.
"Not a word" Bringer replies.
"What of the others, the girl and the tall one?" Speaks First inquires.
"Nothing." Bringer replies. "I have sent out two hunters to find them but as yet I have received no news."
Speaks First sighs and begins coughing again. When the fit subsides he turns to Bringer. "We must hope that they are under the protection of Coyote and will return to us safely. They hold the future of the people in their hands." He rasps. Again he begins to cough violently when he stops he lies back on the furs; a trickle of blood runs from the corner of his mouth. He closes his eyes and appears to sleep. Suddenly the old one sits straight up his eyes wide he looks around the lodge.
"Bringer! I cannot see you." He cries, clutching his old friend's hand.
"I am here with you" Bringer replies.
Speaks First relaxes and sags back into the furs he takes in a deep breath. Slowly the air wheezes out of his lungs.
Bringer can hear the loud rattle in the old mans chest and see the pink froth on his lips.
Speaks First In Council breaths no more.
Over come by grief Bringer holds the old one's hand to his cheek and sobs uncontrollably.
All in the lodge begin to cry openly. With great effort Bringer regains his composure. Shakily he rises to his feet and releases the grip of the old mans hand. He pulls the furs up to cover the corps of his old friend then shakily heads for the door.
The people have gathered outside the lodge and are sitting quietly waiting for word of their ancient leader and hero. As Bringer exits, they all look up.
Bringer stands there looking at group before him. He sees dirty naked children, scrawny women, thin bony kneed hunters and frail old ones. He takes a deep breath then solemnly announces. "The First Man, He who was called Speaks First In Council, he who led us into this world and gave us our name, is no more." Bringer of Fire announces simply.
A wailing goes up from the village of the Fug-a-we. The animals out on the prairie lift their heads and look in the direction of the sound. A distant Coyote howls sorrowfully. Even the wolves are moved to ululation.