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 dove is not cooing, the squirrel is not chirping. And where are all the animal friends that scurry about her feet wherever she goes? 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 everything been done 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 the musty stench of its thick fur. She drops to one knee and knocks an arrow to her bow. A handful of arrows would not stop it. A shiver runs up her spine. Is it about to happen again?