Only a few hundred paces from Black Wolf’s camp, Lozen returns from her morning prayers. The woman warrior pauses, taking in the movement in the trees. She sniffs at the cool air. There is an unnatural silence in the woods – the mourning doves are not cooing, the squirrels are not chirping. And where are all her animal friends that scurry about her feet?
Perhaps her medicine is fading? No, that is a foolish thought. A power given by the Great Spirit, it has strengthened with the seasons.
She recounts her behavior since entering the camp. Has she done everything in a proper manner – the morning ablutions, the request for purification from the shaman, her instructions on tending the wounded, the sharing of her brother Victorio’s battles with the Bluecoats?
She sniffs again at the air, and the pungent scent of fur reaches her nostrils. The memory of her first encounter with the great bear returns. She will never forget its musty stench.
Lozen drops to one knee and arms her bow, knowing that a handful of arrows will not stop it. Is it about to happen again?