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Not wanting to expose his rear end to enemy fire, Josiah pushed away the clothes he had stuffed into the lean-to's front entrance, before crawling out headfirst. Josiah didn't bother getting to his feet before his rifle immediately trained on the mass of furs standing before him. When the trapper saw who it was, he got to his feet, coming face to face with an elderly Blackfoot warrior.

"What are you doing in these mountains?" the old man asked in halting English. "You were warned never to come back."

"I go where I please, Grandpap." Josiah squatted down to look inside the lean-to. "It's all right, Emma. Git dressed."

"If your clan finds you here, it will mean your death," the old man worried.

"I don't kill so easy," grinned Josiah.

The old man shook his head in disbelief when he saw a yellow haired woman emerge from the lean-to. "Did you take her with her people's consent?"

Josiah scowled at the question, feeling the answer was obvious.

"The white men will hang you for taking her," pronounced the old Blackfoot, as though the matter were already settled in his mind.

Snatching the shirt Emma held out to him, Josiah quickly put it on before he froze again. "I reckon they won't hang me-- not if she's with child come springtime. I ain't asking fer permission to stay, Grandpap. From you, nor anyone else."

"Is your hand still against us?" wondered the old man. "Do you still bring the white man here, to our hunting grounds?"

"She ain't a trapper," Josiah pointed his chin at Emma.

The weathered face of the old Blackfoot looked as though it had seen many hard days. He gazed at Emma and then turned his eyes back to Josiah. "You make enemies of your mother's clan, and now you will anger the white man against you as well."

"I ain't caring," retorted Josiah. He spat at the snow, drawing the sleeve of his shirt across his mouth.

"I never should have given my daughter to Hiram Brown," the old man shook his head grimly. "I never considered what he would sire." He looked at Josiah with disdain that mirrored his grandson's. "Keep out of sight until spring, and then you must leave these mountains and never return."

Though Emma thought she saw a twinge of hurt cross Josiah's face, he remained defiant and unmoved.

"If I come back, it'll be my decision."

"I'm making it for you!" the two eagle feathers in the old man's hair quivered indignantly. His rifle remained relaxed in the crook of his arm, but Emma had the feeling it was out of authority, and not out of fear, that it remained where it was.

"Don't do me no more favors, Old Man. If I die, I die."
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