Beside the hearth, the two close friends were silent. As members of the Beloved Women of the tribe, they were responsible for judging prisoners of war and it would be up to the Beloved Women to determine the fate of the Tagwa corpses. Each was waiting for the other to ask the question that both knew the other wanted to ask. Kalona placed her hand on Wananahi’s hand. “Have you decided?”
Wananahi stared at the burning embers of the hearth. “I don’t know. I want to hear what the others say.”
Kalona hissed skeptically and shook her head. She wanted to be critical of her friend’s indecisiveness, but how could she? She was conflicted herself. Her head and her heart were at odds with each other. The hatred in her heart wanted revenge. The hatred in her heart remembered the losses she had suffered at the hands of the Tagwa: her husband; her son-in-law and consequently her daughter; that giant, funny cousin with a raven tattooed on his head that often came to visit her father; and now her little Ali.
But, her mind told her that war was not the answer. She knew that supporting vengeance was contrary to her role as Peace Chief of the tribe. Balance and harmony had been upset for some reason. Whatever she and the other members of the village had done to bring on this great tragedy had to be rectified to restore the balance. Taking the dark path could never lead to the white path. And her sensible side was empathetic for the family of the dead renegade Tagwas.
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