I am Michael Twofeathers, and the spirits guide my path. Over the past weeks, I have seen the Manitou rage across the plains, through the cities, destroying all before them, devouring the living and breaking the bonds of tribes. But the Great Spirits spoke to me, telling me of my part to play. Like Wolf, I must fight with honour. Like Raven, I will trick my enemies for the good of the only tribe I have. Colour. Creed. None of it matters. We must all fight the Manitou... or die.
Horse, in his strength and wisdom, granted me skill with one of his children. Before these dark days, I had never ridden. "Dumb Casino Indian", they would say, unaware of my faith, laughing at me. I chuckle a little, as the joke is on them. Their "God" has not helped them, but the Spirits will. Through me.
It is as I ride into the nearest settlement that I notice them. Four people, one, yet not one. They need guidance, and they are besieged by the bodies of the Manitou. I gently shift the reins, and my friend rides in, ready to help.
But one has the claws of the Manitou deep within his soul. He sees me, this strangely clad man, and his sword swings out, not to defend his fellow man, but to strike at me, my horse. My friend whinnies in pain, falls. And I fall with it. The man sneers at me, and I am in pain. But there is no time for pain, no time for dealing with this man. These others need me. I call to the spirits.
And this time, they answer. A great song springs from my lips, as from many tongues, and it bolsters all. My limbs ripple with the strength of Buffalo, and I strike out. Soon, it is over. For now. I turn to the rest, and introduce myself. The swordsman sneers, and mocks my ways. "What do we need some nutter for?" he asks. I look him up and down.
"Who are you that mocks the spirits so, and dresses so strangely?" The others nod, for he is indeed strange. He is not dressed in normal clothing, he is dressed in some black cloth, open at the chest, with a headband and tape wrapping his wrists and ankles. I know what he believes himself to be, but this cannot be so, for the ninja died long ago, in another country to this strange white man.
He is trouble, I know it. The Manitou is within his heart, and the proof is not long coming. "Me? I'm an assassin, mate. Master swordsman, and killer for hire, Steve Pierson, at your service."
My heart becomes like the storm clouds of the plains, and my face also. "Why, in the name of the Great Spirits, did you maim my horse? He could have aided you, carried you if you are wounded and a friend to the Spirits! WHY?!?"
He looks evasive, and then grins, the shadow in his soul plain on his face. "I thought you were a threat, mate." Even the others grow incredulous at this, and the thunder in my breast grows further. But it is now a cold rain, for I know his heart now.
"You are mad," I say. "You are mad, and the Manitou is within you."
He just chuckles.
"Yeah? Well, least I'm not the nutter riding around with a head-dress and no shirt!"
I turn my back on him. "If I am also mad, far better my side of the river than yours."