In the center of the village, he yanked his horse to a stop. Images of Marchand’s mutilated body flickered in and out of his consciousness. His blood boiled with rage at the thought of it.
He dismounted and let his horse go. Rapidly he reloaded his pistol, before yelling, “C’mon, ye sisters of the devil! Batards! Fils de salaud!”
They came after him—frantic Blackfoot warriors with lances and war clubs, coup sticks and tomahawks.
With the pistol Squire blasted a large hole in the first one’s belly. He lashed out with the tomahawk in his left hand. A Blackfoot fell over, a deep, bloody gash in his skull. Squire dropped his pistol and scooped up the Blood’s stone-headed war club, swinging it in one hand and the tomahawk in the other. He connected with each powerful blow, and Blackfoot bodies piled up like cordwood at his feet. He stood firm, ready to die.
A rifle shot rang out, but Squire could not tell from where it came, or whether it had hit anything. A minute later there was another, and Squire was shocked to see a Blackfoot fall dead.
And just as quickly as the Indians had swarmed around Squire, they fled, running for the safety of the hillside. Certainly this thing they faced was not a man, but a bad spirit. No man could hold their warriors off as easily as this had, and no man could call up rifle shots to kill The People from behind as this gigantic spirit had done.
Squire’s chest heaved as he stood alone in the empty, silent village, his bloodlust almost gone. With a feeling of deadness inside, he started taking scalps. When he was done, he had eight, including the one from the night before and two from warriors dead with rifle ball holes in their backs. It puzzled him, but he was too weary from loss and hate to worry over it too much.
He walked to the largest, most decorated lodge. Inside he found his rifle and Marchand’s. He found their two big saddle possible bags, and LeGrande’s, too. All three were almost empty.
Blackfoot horses began ambling back into the village, and Squire caught several and tied them near his own animal. He rummaged through the village until he found his furs and traps, and those of his two companions, and his saddle. He took a few elk and buffalo hides that belonged to the Blackfeet. He tied the beaver plews into packages of fifty or sixty pelts each. Each bundle weighed ninety to a hundred pounds.
When everything was loaded on horses, he searched until he came up with plenty of jerky and some pemmican in parfleches. He loaded them on horses, too. He strung the horses together with long tethers and then glanced around. Satisfied, he grabbed a burning stick and mounted his horse.
As he rode slowly through the village, he set each lodge ablaze and then rode off. A quarter of a mile away, he stopped and looked back. Long columns of dark, rancid smoke drifted toward the sky, and he thought he could feel the heat of the fires from where he sat. Several wolves were advancing on the camp.
“Adieu, mon ami. T’avez ete vengés. Ton ame est libre,” Squire said sadly. “Goodbye, my friend. You are avenged. Your spirit is free.”