"The Koshare know it," was the equally husky reply. She started, her eyes gleamed like living coals. "Have the Koshare sent you here, father?" "No," was the gloomy answer; "but if the old men come to me and say, 'kill the witch, I must do it. For you know I am Maseua, head-war-chief, and whatever the principals command I must do, even if it takes the life of my only child!"
Tyope held his head erect, watching the face of the old maseua. Topanashka's features had not moved; he was looking at the Koshare Naua with an air of utter unconcern. The Hishtanyi Chayan, on the contrary, raised his head; and the expression of his features became sharp, like those of an anxious inquisitor. In the eye of the Shkuy Chayan a sinister glow appeared.
Hayoue is a mighty warrior; he is wise and very strong. As soon as our mourning is over, the Hotshanyi will make him maseua in place of our father Topanashka. The Shiuana have left us Hayoue; had he gone with you not one of us would be alive." Even that! Hayoue! Hayoue, whom Tyope had left behind in order to deprive him of all opportunity to distinguish himself!
The dread voices of the darkness are heard around them; coyotes howl and whine; in the distance owls hiss and shriek and flit from tree to tree, as the panting men approach. They think not of danger, not even of those who so ruthlessly slaughtered their great and good maseua; on they go as fast as the heavy load permits and as their heavy hearts afford them strength.
Say Koitza, as this wretched woman was called, was the only child of him with whom she had just had this dismal interview. His name was Topanashka Tihua, and he was maseua, or head-war-chief, of the tribe. In times of peace the maseua is subordinate to the tapop, or civil governor, and as often as the latter communicates to him any decision of the tribal council he is bound to execute it.
The maseua and the Hishtanyi Chayan were the only ones whom his oratorical talent could not lead astray. He proceeded in a quieter tone, "We need more land. Some of our fathers have suggested that we should extend our territory to the eastward and open the soil there. They mean well; but there is not enough, and the pines are too near.
Even the chief of the Delight Makers smiled approvingly a hideous, satanic grin of pleasure. He felt like loving the speaker; that is, provided the schemer had been capable of liking anybody but himself. The eyes of Tyope sparkled with grim delight. Kauaitshe and Tyame hung their heads, and reckoned themselves lost forever. The maseua continued, still addressing the principal shaman,
To both kinds of men they said, besides, 'Come together in the mountains and live there in peace, each one getting food for himself and others as you are wont to do. But, lest the people might get weary on their long journey, Maseua and his brother commanded that from Shipapu there should come forth a man whose body was painted white and black, and who carried on his head dried corn-leaves instead of feathers.
The subject of the discussion was not a reason for its abrupt breaking off, for it was merely the all-absorbing topic as to whether two summers ago it had rained as early as this year. It was out of respect for the maseua, out of deference to his presence, that the other clan representatives became silent, all except one.
"Then it is your hanutsh, Shyuamo, that wants something this time?" Hoshkanyi felt, as the saying is, very cheap. His secret was out; and his plan to obtain an expression of opinion from the maseua ere he came to a conclusion himself, a total failure. The latter added in a deprecating way, "If you do not know what to do, ask the Hotshanyi. He will give you good advice."