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The lodge was warm, but there was little food in sight. Josiah's host said something to one of the women, and she rather reluctantly brought forward a small portion of meat. Realizing he was being offered the last of their food, Josiah turned it down, and the men began to talk.

The second Shoshone man was the first one's friend, though from their short exchange, Josiah guessed they weren't very close friends. His host had two wives, while his friend only had one. From the tassels of human hair trimming his host's leggings, Josiah guessed this man was something of consequence among his people. The men were here to hunt, though since their horses had been stolen, it was difficult to leave and return to their village back west. The second man was only interested in finding out if Josiah knew where the buffalo were at, while the first kept turning the discussion back to Josiah's Hawken.

All the while, Josiah kept diverting his gaze to one of the women seated at the back of the lodge with the others. She wasn't much older than Emma, though by her worn features, it was plain she led a hard and difficult life. Her expression was one of curiosity, and Josiah found himself interested.

"You like woman?" asked the host.

"Who is she?"

"First wife," said the man.

Josiah stared at the woman, and an old, familiar sensation pulsed through his veins. It was the excitement of something new and different, and the prospect of a night of adventure. He could feel it in the air, and taste it in his mouth.

Upon seeing Josiah's interest, the second man hurried his wife out of the lodge, apparently not willing that his own woman come under Josiah's scrutiny. He glared at Josiah before muttering something to the other man. The two Shoshone exchanged some hard words, and the second man left for his nearby lodge.

"You trade?" asked the host, pointing to Josiah's Hawken.

"I can't give up my rifle," Josiah shook his head. "How will I git home?"

The Shoshone held up his own weapon-- a battered flintlock rifle. "I give with one night with woman. You trade?"

Josiah looked back at the woman, and then reached inside his bundle for something likely to fetch her attention. Holding up a small mirror, Josiah presented it to her.

Eyeing the object longingly, the woman remained undecided. When Josiah added a knife to the offering, she finally accepted them with a willing smile.

That was all Josiah needed. He handed over his prized Hawken, received the Shoshone's flintlock trade rifle, gave the woman her mirror and knife, and then followed her to bed.

The next morning, Josiah awoke with a woman in his arms. For a moment, he thought it was Emma, but when the firelight revealed the Shoshone woman, he remembered his trade. Soothing his conscience with another embrace, Josiah remained under the animal hides until the woman's husband declared his time was up.
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