I didn't enter the village with him at his request. I wouldn't have gone anyway~this is his fight, not mine. But I couldn't entirely help myself, and I hope he forgives me for this...But, I went to a safe spot about a half mile away from the village and entered the spirit state. I walked into the village, and took a place atop the roof of the meeting hall, which is where (I'll call him Chief) chose to meet his son. I could tell from that that this wasn't going to go well. As the eldest son of the village chief, he was more than entitled to talk to his father in the privacy of his former home regardless of the news.
But his father refused, and demanded a tribal hearing. Running Bear asked for a compromise, with his family and the elder board being the only attendees. I'll hand it to Running bear for thinking on the fly like that..The whole village would have been chaotic. So, here I was, on the roof in spirit form, listening and watching through the smoke hole in the roof.
And it got ugly fast. Bear asked for ten minutes of uninterrupted time for three specific goals: To defend his mother's honor, to explain his absence and journey, and to address the elders and his family specifically. The last means that the chief cannot interject during the specific address. His father actually stood and threw down his ceremonial spear at this. Not even five minutes in, and there is a violent act on the horizon.
His requests were granted, with a two minute limit placed on his last request. He got right to the point, telling pieces of the legend that we confirmed, talking about his journey. I couldn't help but smile when he talked about how we met. When he started talking about our travels though...Things became very heavy.
The Chief's face got redder and redder as Running Bear talked..I could tell that he had familiarity with some of the explanations that were given, involving the symbol and pieces of the legend. I could also tell that either he dismissed them as garbage or...he was unwilling to admit that his son might be on to to something. But no, that would mean admitting he was wrong. Pride and fear would never let him do that. Chief angrily let his son know that the time for explaining was over, and that his two uninterrupted minutes would begin now.
Running Bear switched gears. He walked right over to his brothers and sisters. "Look, guys, I know you think I'm a dishonorable son who fled his village and defied his father. That's what you've been fed. But now you heard the story from me. All I ask is that you decide what you believe for yourselves. And if you believe me, do one thing for me. Protect yourselves, protect each other, and protect the people. You might not ever see me again, but if you ever need me, you can find me.
He signaled that he was done, and then sat down. It was obvious what was coming. Or...I thought so. What happened next, I did not expect.
Chief: "Running Bear, so you call yourself, you are challenged to a fight to submission or death as per tribal law. You have made a scene of this family and have stained our reputation. If you submit you will be executed, as is fitting for a traitor like yourself. You will be struck from our family record forever and your spirit will have no home. What say you?"
Running Bear: "By honor I accept, and by right I claim my life and safe passage for myself and my friend should I triumph. By victory I also claim the right of my mother to be reinstated into this tribe. Name your ground or your weapons."
Chief: "Your terms are blasphemy!"
Elder: "No, Chief, they are within his rights to ask. Calm your spirit."
The Chief lost it at this. He started knocking things and people to the ground, screaming about how his tribe and his family had deserted him. He then turned on Running Bear, jamming the ceremonial spear into his shoulder. I could take it no longer. I returned to my physical self and ran for the village. By the time I got there, though, The Chief had been subdued by the Elders. Three were injured, two of which were Running Bear's siblings. Twins, a boy and a girl. An elder turned to us and said, "Run, get yourselves clear of this village. This man is Chief no longer, but the vengeance in his heart is strong. I feel a darkness within him. Go."
Running Bear's siblings looked at us then, all five of them. The decision was theirs to make. Run or Stay. Either was dangerous. In the end, three ran and two stayed. The twins asked to come with us, while the third sister fled alone.
So we have two new companions, making our way to a hidden site in Mesa Verde. I've known it all my life, and I've never seen signs of another soul there. We'll be safe as soon as we get there. It's getting there that's the problem.