Everything happened quickly after that.
My tears continued to flow throughout the evening. My sister, Saquiskawa, was silent and withdrawn, morose, but holding tight to the shaman stone the chief has passed to her for safekeeping. She kept her head lowered and looked up at no one. What were her thoughts? It was her own personal time to grieve, so I glanced at her once and knew to leave her alone. The only comfort I could give her was to sit by her side. In time of trouble, we knew what to do; each would eventually turn to the other.
There was constant movement through our longhouse, a steady but orderly movement of all visitors. Only the elders were permitted to sit and stay. Others walked in, nodded with deep respect to us all seated around the body, then turned and gathered outside. It seemed to me like hours had passed when I happened to look up to see the eyes of a young brave looking into my very soul. I felt as if he knew everything about me and had a right to. I held his stare for only a fleeting moment and felt my face flush. The unaccustomed warmth of blood rushing to my face was an entirely new sensation.
Most of the men had gathered outside, circling the fire pit that stretched wider than three braves lying head to foot. Ther shouts increased in fervor and pitch, and with a slightest of nods to me, he, Tamaqua, rose and left the circle of elders and went to join the dance.
From outside, the drums began a steady beat and the men took up a long communal wail followed by a sonorous chant as they pulled their legs up high and bent over nearly double. Against a backdrop of flames that curled upward, the men's shadows danced with them and reflected an even bigger group of actual dancers.