OKOYA had been correct in his surmise that Shotaye was gone. In vain Say Koitza pined; her friend had left never to return.
When the news of Topanashka's death reached her, which it did on the very night of the occurrence, she saw at a glance that henceforth her presence among the Queres was an impossibility, for she knew that the deceased was the only one who could interpose himself between Say Koitza and her enemies, and thus wield an influence indirectly favourable to herself. She recognized that henceforth Tyope was free to act as he pleased in the matter, for the medicine-men would be on his side. And she saw that the days of mourning that were sure to follow afforded her a capital opportunity for leaving the Rito unobserved, and executing her flight to the Tehuas of the Puye.
Shotaye could not believe that Cayamo was the slayer of Topanashka. Her warrior from the north was in too great a hurry to get out of the way of pursuing Navajos. He was too anxious to save the scalp he had taken. Even in case Topanashka had overtaken him, which seemed impossible, the Tehua would have avoided rather than attacked the unarmed old man. And if the maseua surprised their interview and followed her knight, the latter had too much vantage-ground to be ever overtaken by his aged and unarmed pursuer. The fact that the sandal had been found, Shotaye interpreted as evidence of Cayamo's precipitate
flight. From her stand-point she reached the very correct conclusion that the Navajos who followed in Cayamo's tracks, and not the Tehua, must have killed the father of her friend Say.
But she saw that her people would fall into error as to the manner of Topanashka's death. She saw that they could not have reached a different conclusion, and also that the error must call forth extraordinary measures of revenge. She heard enough and saw enough, during the commotion prevailing at the Rito when the dead body was brought in, to become convinced that as soon as thc mourning ceremonies were over the Queres would take the war-path against the supposed murderers of their war-chief. She took care not to disabuse the minds of any of her tribal brethren, and said nothing, but felt glad at the opportunity which the proposed campaign would give her for revenge.
Flight to the Tehuas was not only very easy, it could be executed under circumstances that would give her among the other tribe a position of considerable importance. It was almost needless to avail herself of the understanding with Cayamo; she had far more important things to communicate. By informing the Tehuas of the movement on foot against them, she appeared as a deserter from the enemy, as a timely friend. If afterward, as she confidently believed, Tyope should come up with the warriors against the Tehuas, he would find everything prepared for a disastrous reception. Matters looked exceedingly promising for her plans.
For all that, she did not forget Say Koitza; but she had been to some extent forewarned, and as soon as Say heard of Shotaye's absence she must suspect the truth. After all, Say was in no real danger. Until the campaign was over, there was no time to think of her case, and during that
campaign Shotaye would provide for the Queres such rough handling that no thoughts of witchcraft trials would trouble them for some time to come. For there should be mourning, sadness, grief, howling, and gnashing of teeth on the Rito on a very large scale.
Still she did not lose sight of the possibility that her absence might be noticed at an early day, and might arouse suspicion. It was possible, though not at all likely. As long as people mourned, nobody would care for her. After the official mourning was over the council would be convened and the campaign announced. Thereupon all the men who had to take part would have to retire for the customary fasts and purifications, and the Yaya and the Chayani would have to work heavily. Her home was not likely to be visited by any one for a number of days, and when the warriors of the Queres were on the march nobody would call them back because she had disappeared from the Rito.
Perfectly at rest in regard to her own future, reassured as to the fate of Say Koitza, Shotaye had, on the night of the second day after the murder of Topanashka, left her home and climbed to the northern mesa without meeting any obstacle. When the sun rose, she found herself quite near the place which Cayamo, as far as she understood, had designated as the spot where his friend Teanyi would wait for her. Unacquainted with the real distance that separates the Rito from the cave-dwellings above Santa Clara, she had underrated it; and it was only at noon, after she had spent hours walking through the pine timber and in fruitless waiting, that a man stepped up to her from behind a tree and called out,--
"Teanyi!" Then he added, "Cayamo," and inquired, "Shotaye?"
He was the looked-for and longed-for delegate; and
when the sun stood at its height, the two were travelling toward the Puye together.
Shotaye attempted to convey the idea to her companion that the Queres were upon the point of moving upon the Tehuas in force. Her excited gesticulations and broken sentences only succeeded in making him believe that she was herself the object of lively pursuit by a considerable number of men. Therefore when the pair reached the isolated, castle-like rock called Puye, which dominates the country far around, and along the base of which the dwellings of the Tehuas were excavated in friable white pumice-stone, in the same manner as are those of the Rito, Teanyi left her standing before the entrance to his own cave-home, went in, and called his wife to take care of the new-comer while he ran to the tuyo, as the governor is called among the Tehuas. The wife of Teanyi had not been informed of the nature of Shotaye's call, and as she took her into her quarters she eyed her curiously and suspiciously, for it was probably the first time she had seen a human being that spoke a language different from her own. She gave her no food, but waited her husband's return. Shotaye, on her side, cast the quick glance of her lively eyes at everything. From time to time she attempted a word of conversation; she smiled and gesticulated, but the only response was a shaking of the head and facial expressions that denoted suspicion rather than friendship.
Teanyi had informed the tuyo that he had met a woman from the Rito de los Frijoles and had taken her to his home, or rather to that of his wife; that the woman was gesticulating in an unintelligible manner; and that all he could surmise was that there might be Queres approaching the Puye with hostile intentions. He said nothing about Cayamo and his relations toward Shotaye, for Cayamo had enjoined absolute secrecy.
The governor of the Tehuas was a different man from the pompous little tapop of the Queres. The latter would at once have called the council and done everything to surround the event and his own person with as much noise as possible. Not so the tuyo of the Puye. He only said, "I will go with you," and went to the room of Teanyi's wife to see Shotaye and investigate for himself.
The gesticulations began again, and the woman used every effort to make herself understood. The governor did his best to understand her, but no progress was made toward comprehension. She even followed Cayamo's precedent in drawing a line on the floor from north to south, designating the southern end as Tupoge, the northern end as Puye, for thus much she had kept in memory. Then she pointed out on that line the spot where Topanashka, had been killed, and said, "Uan save," and made the gesture-sign for killing. Lastly she tried to convey the idea that the Queres were in arms against the Tehuas.
The governor displayed much coolness, and paid close attention during this strange and almost comic interview. He thought he understood that a man from the Rito, probably called Topanashka, had been murdered by the Dinnes on the trail leading to the Puye from the south. He also thought that the Queres were on the war-path to avenge the murder. In what manner this was connected with the excited state of the woman he could not clearly see, unless she was perhaps the widow of the murdered man. In that event she might have become insane from fright and despair! Her violent gesticulations and the expression of passion and agitation on her features confirmed his suspicion that Shotaye was distracted.
A growing coldness in his manner at last showed the woman what sort of an impression she had been creating, and she felt very uneasy. Not that her life became endangered
thereby; on the contrary, the Indian is very considerate and charitable toward such unfortunates. But from the moment that the Tehuas were convinced of her insanity they would attach no longer any importance to her warnings, and a precious lapse of time that should be improved for immediate preparations for defence was irretrievably lost. The Queres might be allowed to approach, and their onslaught would find the Tehuas utterly unprepared. If only Cayamo had been present! But he dared not approach a woman now, for he was at work purifying himself and fasting, in anticipation of the great day when the scalp which he had taken would be feasted over, danced over, prayed at, and sung to. Shotaye found herself in a most painful situation. She noticed how complacently the tuyo smiled, the more she attempted to insist. At last he turned to Teanyi and said a few words to the latter. Teanyi shook his head, and Shotaye followed the discussion that ensued between the two men with eager eyes and ears.
It soon became clear to her that they were of different opinions, and that each one persisted in his own. Finally Teanyi spoke alone, and for quite a while in a low voice; and the governor listened attentively and with growing interest. Though Teanyi's voice was muffled, Shotaye still overheard the word Cayamo several times. Straining her sense of hearing, she caught the words tupoge, tema quio, finally Shotaye also. The tuyo listened, smiled, winked slyly, and at last laughed aloud. At the same time he turned his face to her and nodded most pleasantly; thereupon he said a few words to Teanyi aloud, and the latter turned to his family, which had little by little congregated in the room, and repeated, as appeared to Shotaye, his statements. At the close of his talk all broke out in a joyful laugh. The housewife, who until then had rather frowned at the visitor, now smiled and nodded too, repeating the words,--
"Not Queres; Tehua woman, wife of Cayamo."
All laughed, and the governor exclaimed,--
"It is well."
The case was clear to all. Cayamo, on his expedition to secure scalps, had picked up a sweetheart. Food was placed Mote Shotaye, and the woman caressed her, inviting her to eat.
In the mean time, one of the boys had left the room. Shotaye was still eating when he returned in company with an elderly man of low stature, whose greeting was answered with the usual reply.
This man cowered down among the rest, and listened with the closest attention to a long speech of the governor. At the close of it he sat for a while scrutinizing the woman's appearance, but when she looked up at him he addressed her in her own dialect, and with the words,--
"Where do you come from?"
A heavy load fell from Shotaye's heart. The ice was broken; henceforth she could explain herself in her own tongue, and inform the Tehuas of everything that was so important to them, so momentous to her. But her first impression, on hearing her tongue spoken by one who was certainly not of her stock, was almost one of fright. People who spoke more than one language were excessively rare at those times; and those who happened to learn the speech of another tribe kept it secret, as Tyope, for instance, concealed his knowledge of the Navajo language from the people of the Rito. The knowledge of more than one tongue was a suspicious and therefore a dangerous gift. The man who now conversed with Shotaye in the Queres dialect was not a native of the Puye. He belonged to the linguistic group of the Tehuas, but to the southern branch, the Tanos, who inhabited several villages west of the Rio Grande and in the country
where the city of Santa Fé now stands. Between the Tanos and the Queres there was limited commercial intercourse, for the Tanos claimed the veins of turquoise that abound on the heights near some of their villages, and the Queres went thither at rare intervals to trade for the gems which they were unable to obtain by force.
Through this rare and limited traffic the Tano had become acquainted with some of the men of the Rito, and many years ago had even accompanied them to their home in the mountain gorge. Such visits were literally great affairs at the time, and they lasted long. Extensive formalities were required to ascertain first how far the Shiuana appeared favourable to the new-comer, and how he should make himself understood to them. The medicine-men had to make strenuous efforts in behalf of the visitor. Equally long formalities preceded his departure, and our Tano had in this manner, between reception, residence, and leave-taking, spent more than a year at the Rito de los Frijoles. During that time he had acquired a knowledge of the Queres language, and spoke it therefore not fluently, but still intelligibly.
As Shotaye had appeared excited and agitated as long as she felt helpless in matters of speech, so now she became free, easy, and above all, calm and clear in her utterances, when she could make herself understood. The Tano began to question her in a methodical, and even in an argumentative manner. He spoke slowly and brokenly; but she understood him, and he comprehended fully her replies, for they were given to the same categoric way. Each of her sentences he translated into Tehua, turning to the tuyo at the end of every one of her answers. Shotaye told him everything, with the exception of the matter of the owl's feathers, for these would have been as dangerous among the Tehuas as among the Queres. [paragraph continues]
She explained the misunderstanding that lay at the bottom of the hostility displayed by the Queres, and finally she insisted that there was no time to clear up that misunderstanding; and since the Queres were already on the march, she urged speedy preparation to repel the assault. She strained the truth on the latter point, but the tuyo forgave her this manifest exaggeration. He knew that there must be at least five days' delay before the prospective campaign. The further the woman proceeded in her exposition of facts, the more she observed, through her quick and scrutinizing glance, that her listeners became deeply interested, and that thoroughly startled, they at last displayed marks of indignation. That indignation, it was plain, was against the Queres; and Shotaye felt that she had gained her point. The breach between the tribes was now widened to such an extent that it could never be healed. At the close of the interrogatory, which had frequently been interrupted by exclamations of surprise and anger, the mistress of the house caressed Shotaye, calling her sister. The tuyo, however, merely nodded to her kindly, uttered in a commanding tone a few words to those present, and went out to attend to his duties of convening the council. But the Tano Indian remained with Shotaye until late in the night. He pretended to keep her company, and to contribute toward dispelling the feeling of loneliness that might overcome her in the midst of people with whom she could not converse. But in reality he remained as a spy, to cross-examine in a covert way. Shotaye was wary, and not one contradiction, not one misstatement, could he detect during their talk. Then he went where the council had gathered, reporting that according to his conviction the woman was not only sincere, but exceedingly well-informed.
It would be superfluous to enter into details concerning
the proceedings of the council. Its composition and the formalities were in the main similar to those of the council of the Queres. One point was earnestly discussed,--the propriety of sending a messenger to the Queres to clear up, if possible, the misunderstanding. But the thought was finally discarded, on the ground that it was not the Tehuas who should make overtures of peace,--because they were absolutely innocent,--but the Queres, for it was they who, ere proceeding to hostile demonstrations, should have called on the Tehuas for explanation. Had the two tribes been on friendly terms, it might have been different; but there existed a breach between them already, and if the Queres chose to still further widen it, the Tehuas felt ready for any emergency. It was resolved to prepare for war at once, to call to arms the entire male population, send ahead the necessary spies, and thus prepared, to wait. With this the matter went into the hands of the great medicine-man and the head war-chief. The former was almost an equivalent to the Hishtanyi Chayan among the Queres, the latter the. exact equivalent of the maseua.
The castle-like rock of the Puye, along whose base the numerous cave-dwellings are burrowed out of a very friable and almost snow-white tufa, is situated about ten miles west of the Rio Grande, and not two miles south of the picturesque cañon of Santa Clara. The cliff is over one half mile long, and it dominates the mesa on which it stands. For many miles there are groves of timber surrounding the foot of the high and rugged slope that leads up to the cave-dwellings. While the Queres at the Rito dwelt at the bottom of a secluded gorge, the Tehuas occupied a picturesque citadel rising from a high and level plateau. Northeast of the Puye, and separated from it by the cañon of Santa Clara, there rises a similar rock, equally bold and striking, and higher still, but not
as extensive. This is called by the Tehuas, Shu Finne. Its lower rim is also perforated by cave-dwellings, and these were inhabited by a portion of the same tribe. During the night runners were sent to the Shu Finne, calling upon its people for assistance; and videttes were placed on the mountains and on the little mesa capping the cliff. The Tehuas were more numerous than the Queres of the Rito, and might well wait calmly and with dignity until the latter either sought to negotiate or broke out in unjustifiable warfare.
The five days which, as the tuyo had correctly inferred, would be spent by the people of the Tyuonyi in mourning and in warlike preparations, passed; and no messenger of peace came to the Tehuas. The Queres remained in perfect confidence that those whom they intended to surprise were in absolute ignorance of any evil intentions on their part. But when the night of the fifth day had shrouded the landscape in purple darkness, Tehua warriors began to stream down the slopes from the cliff and its cave-dwellings. The deepest silence was observed, instructions having been given beforehand, and the bands of armed men moved noiselessly forward. The plan was not to await the attack at home, but to advance into the more timbered country south of the barren mesa where the cliff rises, and to surprise the enemy on their approach. From reports of spies it was known that no Queres were as yet scouring the heights north of the Rito; and the Tehuas, moving swiftly, were able to place themselves in ambush in the rocky wilderness where, later on, their descendants built and inhabited the now ruined village of the Pueblo of the Bird. One half day's journey would bring the Queres easily to that point, where they certainly would not expect to be met by armed foes. There is water in the vicinity, and the ground is broken with pine
groves. It could be foretold with reasonable certainty that the enemy would move in the direction of this place, for it is the straightest course, though not the easiest, from the Rito northward. In this region the Tehua hosts spread out, scouts preceding even as far as the Ziro kauash. The Queres might come, for everything was as ready as Shotaye's fondest hopes could have wished.
During these warlike preparations Shotaye found ample time and opportunity to become initiated into the life of her new home. The old interpreter proved a very useful guide, and she improved his willingness to talk and to advise. He informed her that Cayamo was free, and that as soon as the story of their meeting had become known among the people of the Puye, everybody began to look upon her as his future wife. Shortly before the beginning of the campaign, the time of his retirement expired; the ceremonies on the scalp matter had to be postponed on account of the all-important measures of war, and Cayamo was able to present himself to his future spouse in the natural colour of his skin and in his usual costume. Their meeting was not in the least sentimental. Both laughed aloud and joyfully; they exchanged gestures and signs plainly indicating their future duties and probable results. Those present laughed in token of approval and applause. At a hint from Teanyi's wife, Shotaye placed some corn-cakes before Cayamo. He ate a few morsels, the courtship formalities were fulfilled, and the bridegroom returned to his duty as a warrior.
The Tano had informed the woman that Cayamo belonged to the clan of the Sun. In return she communicated that the Water people were her kindred. What the Queres called Tzitz hanutsh the Tehuas named Pho doa, and the members of the clan Pho were therefore officially requested to take their new sister in charge. Some of the old men of the
cluster came over to the dwellings of the Turquoise clan, where the wife of Teanyi lived. In their company came several women, who escorted Shotaye to her new quarters. On the way to the caves of Pho doa one of the women lightly touched Shotaye's breast, then her own, and whispered,
It was her name, and Shotaye communicated her own in reply. The woman shook her head, whispering,--
"Nyo Shotaye, nyo Tema, 'not Shotaye, not Queres.' Tehua quio." Then she grasped her hand and breathed into Shotaye's ear,--
"Aua Pho Quio."
Shotaye easily understood the meaning of this confidential communication. With her change of abode her name was to change also. Henceforth she was to be a Tehua woman, and Aua Pho Quio was to be her name.
The Tano, continued his visits as heretofore. He plied the woman with questions, sometimes of the most complex nature. His conduct in this respect was characteristic of the suspicious nature of the Indian generally. The leaders of the Tehuas mistrusted Shotaye still, notwithstanding her clear and positive talk; and they had instructed the Tano to keep her company and to probe her sincerity and veracity still further. But she was more than a match for all of them. She saw through the maze of the very confused and bewildering interrogatory, and her replies were such as to absolutely confirm the Tehuas in the good opinion they had conceived of her. Whatever the interpreter reported to the tuyo that was of any value to the military operations impending, was immediately communicated to the war-chief through a special runner, for that functionary was in the field already with his men.
Shotaye made use of her conversations with the Tano Indian to direct the attention of the Tehuas toward Tyope.[paragraph continues]
She described him as the leading warrior and the most influential man on the Rito, as the pivot around which everything revolved and on whose life much would depend. But she was artful enough not to depict Tyope as a bad man, lest the Tehuas might infer her real purpose. She spoke of him as a man dangerous through his good qualities, and as a formidable adversary. In short her words produced such an effect that the governor himself came to interrogate her on the subject, and even caused the war-chief to return from the field on the fourth day, and had him visit Shotaye in company with the interpreter and secure a detailed and accurate description of this dangerous individual. Then they went to the medicine-man and consulted him about the propriety of taking Shotaye along into the field, that she might point out the great warrior who, so they had become convinced, must be killed at all hazards in order to insure success. On the evening of the sixth day, therefore, Shotaye wandered over to Tzirege in company with the commander himself.
Shortly after their arrival among the group of warriors where the war-chief had taken his position, runners came from the south with news that they had detected several Queres in full war-paint creeping northward from the brink of the Rito. These runners were at once ordered back, with strict injunctions to the scouts not to impede the enemy's movements, but to suffer them to advance. The Tehuas were quite scattered, particularly in the front, as is usually the case with bodies of Indians on the war-path. The main bodies concealed themselves between the Tzirege and a deep and broad ravine farther south, called to-day Cañada Ancha. They kept in the woods toward the mountains, expecting their foes to approach on a line closer to the river. The plan was to allow the Queres to come up undisturbed as far as the north side of the Cañada. As the men from
the Rito advanced, the Tehua scouts were to close in from the rear and follow them cautiously, until the enemies were all gathered on the desired spot, with the woods to their left and rugged, barren cliffs and peaks to their right. Then the trap would be sprung; and if the Queres took to those bleak fastnesses for defence it would be easy to surround them, cut them off from water, and thus exterminate them completely.
Night had fallen when another message came, to the effect that the numbers of the enemy were increasing, and beginning to spread over the timber in small groups. The war-chief sent a messenger to the Puye, and after midnight the great medicine-man of war appeared in person. The shaman was, like all the others, painted black; a tall plume taken from an eagle rose behind each ear; the left hand carried a rattle; and a little drum was suspended from his shoulder. As soon as he arrived, one of the warriors retired to a spot which was almost hedged in by several bushy cedar-trees. There he built a fire, and as soon as it burned he covered it in such a manner that only a thin film of smoke arose from it. To this smouldering heap the shaman proceeded alone and sat down. There he spent the night, muttering incantations and prayers, shaking his rattle, and striking the drum softly from time to time.
The sounds that proceeded from his discordant music were so faint that they could be heard only in close proximity. They were besides the only human sound in this wilderness., Animal voices occasionally disturbed the quietness of the night. Nobody would have supposed that between the Rito and the mesas opposite San Ildefonso of to-day several hundred Indian warriors were hidden, patiently waiting or slowly moving forward. It was a quiet, still night, cool, as the nights mostly are in the rainy season, and dark. The sky was partly overcast; but the clouds
did not drift, they formed and dissolved overhead; and the stars appeared and disappeared alternately as the nebulous fleeces disclosed or shrouded them. Behind the mountain, thunder-clouds rested, and occasional flashes of lightning illuminated the crests, and faint thunder muttered in the distance. It had no threatening sound, and the lightning did not seem like prophetic writing on the sombre clouds. It was a pleasant night and an excellent one for Indian warfare.
The scouts of the Tehuas had reported in the last instance that the bulk of the war-party from the Rito must now be on the move, for no fresh additions were coming up from the gorge. So careless and unconcerned were the Queres, so absolutely sure of the enemy's ignorance of their designs, that they never thought of sending scouts to the upper end of the northern mesa. From there a few Tehuas had comfortably observed everything that happened in the gorge during the day, and as evening came they could report even the numbers of the warriors who took part in the campaign. As soon as these warriors were all on the Ziro kauash, the Tehua spies, after warning those behind them, crept cautiously into the rear of the advancing foe.
All the able-bodied men from the Tyuonyi had not been permitted to join the expedition. Hayoue was not among them, neither was Okoya. It was a sad disappointment to the boy, and yet was he not staying at home in defence of his mother and of Mitsha? Say Koitza had ceased to weep, but the persistent neglect which she thought she suffered from Shotaye grieved her. At last she asked Okoya whether he had seen anything of the cave-woman. His reply, that he thought she had gone, explained everything. She recollected the confident words that Shotaye had spoken to her, and concluded that the woman had carried out her plan of taking refuge with the Tehuas. That
quelled her apprehensions and allayed her fears. Shotaye knew what she was and had to do; and Shotaye--of this Say felt convinced--was true to her. In order to be quite sure of the fact, however, she strolled up to the cave in the course of an afternoon. The rooms were empty, and Say turned back. One of Shotaye's neighbours stopped her to ask where the medicine-woman might be. Say carelessly replied that she was probably on the heights above, gathering herbs. The wily fugitive had left her household as if she were about to return soon. With the exception of the mother of Okoya nobody noticed her absence. She was known to disappear occasionally for several days; and furthermore, the excitement and bustle incident upon the prospective expedition against the Tehuas engaged everybody's attention.
Say Koitza could not help wondering whether Shotaye would inform the Tehuas of the impending attack. Perhaps she might, perhaps not. At all events she felt relieved upon hearing that neither her son nor her husband nor even Hayoue were to go with the warriors. The enterprise aroused within her vague apprehensions; why, she could not tell. But it pleased her to learn that Tyope was going,--going as the leader, the war-captain of the party.
Tyope had worked incessantly and with brilliant results. The Shkuy Chayan and the Koshare Naua had succeeded in so inveigling the principal shaman that he ordered that all the men from the Water clan, and those from Shyuamo with few exceptions, should stay at home for the protection of the women and children. That included Hayoue, of whose abilities and popularity Tyope was afraid, and saved the Turquoise people from the casualties of war. Tyope went so far as to praise Hayoue in the council, suggesting that the young man should be intrusted with authority as war-chief ad interim. The suggestion was carried out at
once, and afterward the Hishtanyi Chayan appointed Tyope--as commander-in-chief of the forces marching out. He himself accompanied the body Of warriors as adviser and spiritual guide to the captain. Nothing could suit Tyope better. The man was old and not very strong, and people are often killed in war.
After sunset the medicine-man made his appearance on the northern mesa and performed his incantations. Tyope and most of the others breathed on their war-fetiches, and then group after group stealthily moved onward. The plan, which had been communicated to every one in its main points, consisted in reaching before sunrise the very ground which the Tehuas had selected for their operations; passing the following day in the woods of that vicinity in concealment, and creeping up to the Puye the following night; then, after sunrise, when the Tehuas would begin to scatter, unarmed and unsuspecting, pouncing upon them and making a general slaughter. Tyope had under his direction more than two hundred men, and they extended over a wide front. About twenty experienced warriors, mostly uakanyi, glided in advance as scouts. Behind them came at a suitable distance either single warriors or small bands. The main body came last. It was divided into several groups. Near the centre were Tyope and the shaman.
Every one knew that his duty for the present consisted in searching for traces of the enemy without exposing himself to discovery. Should a single Tehua be observed, and it became possible for a scout to overpower and kill him without noise, he might do it. In case a number of foes were noticed, the spy was to give quiet warning to the man nearest to him, that one to those in his rear; and they were to send a runner to inform Tyope. In the mean time all were to halt until orders came to move in a new direction. For Tyope, although he did not in the least suspect that the [paragraph continues]
Tehuas were forewarned, and still less on the alert so close by the Rito, used every possible precaution in order that the surprise might be complete and the blow as crushing as possible.
It was dark in the timber, and the main body of the Queres approached the brink of the first cañon north of the Rito while the advance were cautiously descending into the bottom and the scouts were already farther on. Tyope and the medicine-man were standing a short distance from the descent of the south side and listening to the news which a runner had just brought in from the front.
"Are you sure you have noticed a man?" the Chayan asked in a whisper.
"I am sure of it. He crouched at the foot of a juniper-bush," replied the messenger, positively.
"Has he seen you?" demanded Tyope.
"I believe not."
"When you left was he there still?"
"I could not see any more of him."
"How far is it from here? Where stands the tree?" the Chayan asked.
"It is on the other side of the ravine, near the border to the left."
Tyope pondered a while; then he said to the shaman,--
"Nashtio yaya, I think we should go more toward the east. What do you say?"
"It is well," muttered the medicine-man.
Satyumishe," Tyope said to the runner, "go and tell the men to go along the ravine toward the Rio Grande until the trees become smaller. Thence they may go to the north again, but slowly and carefully. Ziua," he called to one of the bystanders, "go and tell those toward the left to come where I stand. Ohotika," calling another, "run to the right and command those there to wait until we join them."
The runners left in the directions indicated.
The information which had just been conveyed to Tyope was most disagreeable. The presence of one human being at the time and place indicated looked very suspicious. If the man had seen his warriors he would certainly run home and give the alarm. All Tyope could do now was to keep as close as possible to the Rio Grande, push up parallel with the river as cautiously as possible, and thus sneak beyond the enemy, in case, as he still could not believe, the latter were in anything like a considerable force. He would thus eventually place himself between them and their village.
After a while the warriors from the left came on hastily, stumbling through the darkness. All together now went down in an easterly direction, where the right wing, if this term can be used, was halting. Thence Tyope despatched runners ahead to inquire whether everything was quiet in front, to repeat the order of slow marching, and to direct them to halt on the northern brink of the Cañada Ancha.
When the runners left, the march was resumed in the usual scattering manner, as if all were skirmishers. Tyope and the shaman remained together. Neither uttered a word. The commander looked up to the stars from time to time. They were peeping out more and more, for the clouds were dispersing. Only from the southwest distant thunder sounded and lightning flashed occasionally. A shower was falling in that direction.
It was past midnight when the main body came up with the advance guard after crossing the Cañada Ancha. Tyope found everything in order, and he directed a farther advance. Tyope was angry. The circuit which he had felt obliged to make made a serious delay, and there was danger that with the early sunrise of the summer months he might be behind to such an extent as to be unable to reach the cover of the
woods in time. If the Tehuas were informed of his approach they would either prepare for his coming at the Puye--and the result of an open attack would be to say the least extremely doubtful,--or they would come out in force, and desultory fighting would ensue. In this those who were nearest water and supplies always had the advantage. His idea of striking a sudden blow appeared very much endangered by the presence of Tehuas in the forest. He thought and thought without arriving at any satisfactory conclusion. Return to the Rito he could not, for such a retreat was worse than disaster. Neither could he decide alone; the Hishtanyi Chayan was by his side and he had to consult him. So he stood still and turned to the shaman, saying,--
"Nashtio yaya, the night will soon be over, and the sun may come out from behind the mountain in the east."
"Ko," grunted the medicine-man.
"It is far yet to the houses of the Moshome Tehua."
The Chayan stood still.
"Sa uishe nashtio," said he, "the Shiuana direct us to go on a different road. I saw an owl fly toward the moon. Let us go away from the river into the kote to rest and to hide until the sun goes down again and we may go farther toward the katityam of the enemy."
This was just as Tyope wanted. He disliked the idea of passing a day concealed under cliffs and crags where a torrid sun shone, and where there was water only in the river beneath and at a great depth. But he wanted to be sure of what Those Above intended, so he asked again,--
"Yaya Chayan, do the Shiuana"--he emphasized the term--"say that we should go to the west?"
"The spirits say that we should go where there is shade and water! Let us go to the mountains; there we shall find both."
"They are right Tyope exclaimed. "I believe it is
better to stay there until the sun has risen. I will send word to the men to turn to the left, and we will sleep in the shade of the trees until the time comes to advance."
"You are right, brother," the Chayan assented; "do as you have said."
The two men had lagged behind the others during this conversation. Tyope imitated the cry of an owl. Soon several warriors came up to him. He directed them to go to the front, to the right, and to the left, and give orders that all should move to the westward a short distance, far enough to reach high timber. Then all should halt and prepare to pass the night. He himself moved a short distance only in that direction. in company with the shaman, and selected a spot where the mesa was covered with the usual underbrush and where taller trees already began to appear. Here he lay down to rest with eyes wide open, ready for any emergency. Not far away the medicine-man found a secluded spot where he sat down without fire, occasionally touching the drum and reciting his prayers and incantations. They were the same as those which the shaman of the Tehuas was directing to Those Above at the same time and not far from him, but in a different tongue, for the success of his people and the destruction of those for whom the Hishtanyi Chayan was praying.
The decision of Tyope to penetrate into the forest to the west brought the Queres into the very position which the Tehuas desired. The scouts of the latter had obeyed punctually and diligently the orders which they had received, following step by step the advancing foe and reporting to headquarters any notable move. They possessed the immense advantage of knowing every movement the Queres made from the very beginning, and were thus able to observe them unseen. As soon as Tyope had concentrated his forces on the northern brink of the Cañada Ancha, the main
body of the Tehuas receded slightly to the west. As soon as the Queres began to ascend in that direction, the retrograde movement of the others continued in the centre; whereas the left wing spread out, and the right slightly advanced to the east along the brink of the ravine. The scouts were called in with all haste and reinforced, especially the body that faced the Queres in the north. At the time Tyope lay down to rest, his forces were surrounded everywhere except on the east. Everything was ready for the Tehuas to begin their attack upon the unsuspecting foe at daybreak.