Chapters 11–12 Summary
Chapter 11: Black Time
Hash Koinchush, June 21, 1747: Red Shoes, now narrating in the first person and carrying the severed heads of three men he has killed, is greeted by an emissary from a nearby camp: she says they will not support him and he must leave. He is offended—once, he was welcomed everywhere. He tells the people the story of the three men he has killed, urging them to accept him because he is a great warrior.
The female emissary tells him he is “the walking dead” and that the villages who have supported him will be destroyed when he is gone. Next, he sees Shakbatina’s spirit, which tells him to sacrifice himself as she did herself. He refuses, saying Anoleta will return to him when she realizes he did not cause Shakbatina’s death, and the two of them will drive out the Inkilish okla and Filanchi okla together.
Shakbatina tells Red Shoes he is greedy. He then has a vision of his own death, which he shares with Shakbatina’s spirit: he and his warriors meet with Red Fox warriors and advance towards the Alibamu Conchatys village. A child spots them, and Red Shoes tries to quiet him but accidentally kills him. He yearns for Anoleta; he had Choucououlacta killed, but not before Choucououlacta and Anoleta had a child together. Soon, the head of Red Shoes will be on a pole. Anoleta and Haya will track him down and he will decide to help them, participating in his own death as a sacrifice as he is roasted alive.
Meanwhile, on the road to Alibamu Conchatys, Nitakechi and a young warrior are eating. The Blackrobe with them has been writing, an act Nitakechi compares to tattooing or making drawings. Nitakechi thinks he will teach the boy how to speak the language of Tuscalusa. The boy says his name is Hopaii Iskitini—Little Prophet—and that he would like to be the assassin of Red Shoes, as more than twenty towns have voted to kill him. Nitakechi tells him no Inholahta should contemplate murder.
Koi Chitto arrives and says that Red Shoes and his men are coming to besiege the town. Ten towns of warriors are coming to fight him. Nitakechi says he will come, but only if he is allowed to try and reason with Red Shoes first.
Father Renoir, the Blackrobe, is writing an account of the past nine years. Jean-Marie Critches, a Swiss soldier, tells him he has bad news to share, but Renoir keeps writing. He tells of his arrival at Yanàbi Town and how he witnessed the ceremonies of bone-picking. He waited with Father Baudouin in the town for hours until, in December 1738, he witnessed Koi Chitto perform the bone-picking ceremony on Shakbatina.
The soldier interrupts again to say that Red Shoes is on his way. Father Renoir already knew this. He goes on writing, following up his touching account of the bonepicking with more straightforward entries about how the Chicachas and Chahtas once fought each other in 1737, and then about Red Shoes’s imminent arrival. He writes that he will take Neshoba, Shakbatina’s daughter, as his guide when he goes, so that he can try to prevent bloodshed.
Rolling up the book, he tells Jean-Marie that he is leaving with Neshoba and that Jean-Marie must deliver the book to Father Baudouin in the event of his death.
Anoleta, with two hundred warriors, has been walking all night. She thinks of her child, Chunkashbili (or “Bili”), whom Neshoba helped birth. She sees a vision of Shakbatina, which tells her not to be afraid.
Then, her father wakes her; Anoleta tells him she feels her mother is angry about something. Koi Chitto says it is because she does not know yet how to help them.
A runner appears to say that Red Shoes has attacked. The group sends two runners to scout out what is happening. Anoleta and her sister Haya once both loved Red Shoes, but Anoleta has sworn to “finish” him. Koi Chitto takes a party of men to assist when he hears of the Pacana massacre Red Shoes has enacted. Nikatechi is furious now, not knowing whether his beloved, Mantema, is safe, and he wants to kill Red Shoes. Koi Chitto...
(The entire section is 1,085 words.)