For today, for tomorrow, and the next day, my task is to watch over my cousin. I'm not doing it alone. This morning at dawn we went out into the mountains, away from people. There are five others doing the same thing. The dancers are in a time of fasting and prayer. No food, no water. We bring and offer both several times a day. There would be no loss of honor for someone to decide that they need to eat or drink. It increases the attention given to the act of the fast. It's one thing to be hungry and thirsty when there's no food or water around, but when it is offered, then refused, it emphasizes the choice.
Although they are out of sight and hearing of each other, the dancers are in the same general area. The "Stands Beside" who attends each dancer co-ordinates with the others who hold that role and among each clan and warrior society to make sure that there is always someone out there with the dancer, watching. It is a remote wilderness area, there are bears, cougars, and other critters, there are also people. The area sometimes has people hiking and sightseeing. Those people are politely shown a different path that will not disturb the ceremony. The animals usually don't even have to be asked. The sight of a person on horseback will generally get them to alter their path. If not, we simply draw closer in to our dancers and allow them pass unmolested. After all, they live here too.
We work in shifts of four hours, riding and watching. We hear the prayers of the dancers. I am riding four on, four off. There is no shortage of volunteers from the Raven Soldiers, and the Flute clan. For today, all riders are both. Just like me, just like my cousin.
It will be cold tonight on the mountain. I'm bringing blankets for my cousin, there will be no fires because our mountains are far too dry to take that risk right now.
I will be riding and watching most of the night.UPDATE:
Blogger is being very strange. I posted this but it isn't appearing on the main page. It might appear at some later date, it might not. Blogger sucks ass.
For some reason it appears here so, please, follow this link. Questions of Honor, Gifts of Heart3B's